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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)
Sarri, G., Murphy, G. C., Dieckmann, M., Bret, A., Quinn, K., Kourakis, Y., Borghesi, M., Drury, L. O. C., & Ynnerman, A. (2011). Two-dimensional particle-in-cell simulation of the expansion of a plasma into a rarefied medium. New Journal of Physics, 13, 073023/1-22. . https://doi.org/10.1088/1367-2630/13/7/073023