Weibel-induced filamentation during an ultrafast, laser-driven plasma expansion

Kevin Quinn, Lorenzo Romagnani, Bhuvanesh Ramakrishna, Gianluca Sarri, Mark Dieckmann, P.A. Wilson, J. Fuchs, L. Lancia, A. Pipahl, T. Toncian, O. Willi, R.J. Clarke, M. Notley, A. Macchi, Marco Borghesi

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Abstract

The development of current instabilities behind the front of a cylindrically expanding plasma has been investigated experimentally via proton probing techniques. A multitude of tubelike filamentary structures is observed to form behind the front of a plasma created by irradiating solid-density wire targets with a high-intensity (I~1019??W/cm2), picosecond-duration laser pulse. These filaments exhibit a remarkable degree of stability, persisting for several tens of picoseconds, and appear to be magnetized over a filament length corresponding to several filament radii. Particle-in-cell simulations indicate that their formation can be attributed to a Weibel instability driven by a thermal anisotropy of the electron population. We suggest that these results may have implications in astrophysical scenarios, particularly concerning the problem of the generation of strong, spatially extended and sustained magnetic fields in astrophysical jets.
Original languageEnglish
Article number135001
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Volume108
Issue number13
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 26 Mar 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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    Quinn, K., Romagnani, L., Ramakrishna, B., Sarri, G., Dieckmann, M., Wilson, P. A., Fuchs, J., Lancia, L., Pipahl, A., Toncian, T., Willi, O., Clarke, R. J., Notley, M., Macchi, A., & Borghesi, M. (2012). Weibel-induced filamentation during an ultrafast, laser-driven plasma expansion. Physical Review Letters, 108(13), [135001]. https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.108.135001