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Propagation instabilities of high-intensity laser-produced electron beams

Tatarakis, M. and Beg, F.N. and Clark, E.L. and Dangor, A.E. and Edwards, R.D. and Evans, R.G. and Goldsack, T.J. and Ledingham, K.W.D. and Norreys, P.A. and Sinclair, M.A. and Wei, M.S. and Zepf, M. and Krushelnick, K. (2003) Propagation instabilities of high-intensity laser-produced electron beams. Physical Review Letters, 90 (17). pp. 175001-1. ISSN 0031-9007

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Measurements of energetic electron beams generated from ultrahigh intensity laser interactions (I>1019 W/cm2) with dense plasmas are discussed. These interactions have been shown to produce very directional beams, although with a broad energy spectrum. In the regime where the beam density approaches the density of the background plasma, we show that these beams are unstable to filamentation and 'hosing' instabilities. Particle-in-cell simulations also indicate the development of such instabilities. This is a regime of particular interest for inertial confinement fusion applications of these beams (i.e., "fast ignition").