Two-dimensional particle-in-cell simulation of the expansion of a plasma into a rarefied medium

Gianluca Sarri, G. C. Murphy, Mark Dieckmann, A. Bret, Kathleen Quinn, Yannis Kourakis, Marco Borghesi, L.O.C. Drury, A. Ynnerman

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22 Citations (Scopus)


The expansion of a dense plasma through a more rarefied ionized medium has been studied by means of two-dimensional particle-in-cell simulations. The initial conditions involve a density jump by a factor of 100, located in the middle of an otherwise equally dense electron-proton plasma with uniform proton and electron temperatures of 10 eV and 1 keV, respectively. Simulations show the creation of a purely electrostatic collisionless shock together with an ion-acoustic soliton tied to its downstream region. The shock front is seen to evolve in filamentary structures consistently with the onset of the ion-ion instability. Meanwhile, an un-magnetized drift instability is triggered in the core part of the dense plasma. Such results explain recent experimental laser-plasma experiments, carried out in similar conditions, and are of intrinsic relevance to non-relativistic shock scenarios in the solar and astrophysical systems.
Original languageEnglish
Article number073023
Pages (from-to)073023/1-22
Number of pages22
JournalNew Journal of Physics
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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