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Collisionless Rayleigh–Taylor-like instability of the boundary between a hot pair plasma and an electron–proton plasma: The undular mode
Linköping University, Department of Science and Technology, Media and Information Technology. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering. (Scientific Visualization)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4055-0552
Linköping University, Department of Science and Technology, Media and Information Technology. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering. (Scientific Visualization)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1511-5006
Ecole Normale Supérieure, Lyon, CRAL, UMR CNRS 5574, Université de Lyon, 69622 Lyon, France.
Ecole Normale Supérieure, Lyon, CRAL, UMR CNRS 5574, Université de Lyon, 69622 Lyon, France.
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2020 (English)In: Physics of Plasmas, ISSN 1070-664X, E-ISSN 1089-7674, Vol. 27, no 11, p. 1-14, article id 112106Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

We study with a two-dimensional particle-in-cell simulation the stability of a discontinuity or piston, which separates an electron–positron cloud from a cooler electron–proton plasma. Such a piston might be present in the relativistic jets of accreting black holes separating the jet material from the surrounding ambient plasma and when pair clouds form during an x-ray flare and expand into the plasma of the accretion disk corona. We inject a pair plasma at a simulation boundary with a mildly relativistic temperature and mean speed. It flows across a spatially uniform electron–proton plasma, which is permeated by a background magnetic field. The magnetic field is aligned with one simulation direction and oriented orthogonally to the mean velocity vector of the pair cloud. The expanding pair cloud expels the magnetic field and piles it up at its front. It is amplified to a value large enough to trap ambient electrons. The current of the trapped electrons, which is carried with the expanding cloud front, drives an electric field that accelerates protons. A solitary wave grows and changes into a piston after it saturated. Our simulations show that this piston undergoes a collisionless instability similar to a Rayleigh–Taylor instability. The undular mode grows and we observe fingers in the proton density distribution. The effect of the instability is to deform the piston but it cannot destroy it.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
American Institute of Physics (AIP), 2020. Vol. 27, no 11, p. 1-14, article id 112106
Keywords [en]
PIC simulation, collisionless plasma, shock
National Category
Fusion, Plasma and Space Physics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-171119DOI: 10.1063/5.0018321ISI: 000591344800002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-171119DiVA, id: diva2:1498897
Note

Funding agencies:Ecole Nationale Superieure de Lyon, Universite de Lyon; French National Program of High Energy (PNHE); EPOCH [EP/P02212X/1]; French supercomputing facilities GENCI [A0070406960]

Available from: 2020-11-05 Created: 2020-11-05 Last updated: 2020-12-16Bibliographically approved

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Dieckmann, Mark EFalk, MartinSteneteg, PeterHotz, IngridYnnerman, Anders

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