Electron surfing acceleration by the electron two-stream instability in a weak magnetic field
2006 (English)In: Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion, ISSN 0741-3335, E-ISSN 1361-6587, Vol. 48, no October, 1515-1530 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
The thermalization of relativistically flowing colliding plasmas is not well understood. The transition layer, in which both plasmas interact and thermalize, is wide and highly structured and the instabilities in this layer may yield non-thermal particle distributions and shock-less energy dissipation. The objective in this work is to explore the ability of an electron two-stream instability for thermalizing a plasma beam that moves at the mildly relativistic speed 0.3c through weakly magnetized plasma and to identify the resulting particle distributions. It is demonstrated here with particle-in-cell simulations that the electron two-stream instability leads to waves that propagate within a wide angular range relative to the flow velocity. The waves are thus not planar, as required for efficient electron surfing acceleration (ESA). The short lifetime of the waves implies, however, only weak modifications of the ESA by the oblique modes, since the waves are sufficiently homogeneous. The ion (proton) beams are not modulated, which would be required to extract some of their energy. The instability can thus heat the electrons significantly, but it fails to accelerate them to relativistic energies and it cannot form a shock layer by thermalizing the protons, at least not for the system and the resolved timescales considered here.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2006. Vol. 48, no October, 1515-1530 p.
Engineering and Technology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-35708DOI: 10.1088/0741-3335/48/10/005Local ID: 28207OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-35708DiVA: diva2:256556