Thin-shell instability in collisionless plasma

M. E. Dieckmann, H. Ahmed, D. Doria, G. Sarri, R. Walder, D. Folini, A. Bret, A. Ynnerman, M. Borghesi

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6 Citations (Scopus)
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Thin-shell instability is one process which can generate entangled structures in astrophysical plasma on collisional (fluid) scales. It is driven by a spatially varying imbalance between the ram pressure of the inflowing upstream plasma and the downstream's thermal pressure at a nonplanar shock. Here we show by means of a particle-in-cell simulation that an analog process can destabilize a thin shell formed by two interpenetrating, unmagnetized, and collisionless plasma clouds. The amplitude of the shell's spatial modulation grows and saturates after about ten inverse proton plasma frequencies, when the shell consists of connected piecewise linear patches.
Original languageEnglish
Article number031101
Number of pages5
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2015


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