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Kinetic theory of radiation reaction

Noble, Adam and Jaroszynski, Dino and Gratus, Jonathan and Burton, David (2011) Kinetic theory of radiation reaction. In: Central Laser Facility Annual Report 2010-2011. Central Laser Facility, p. 28. ISBN 978-0-9556616-7-9

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Abstract

The development of ultra-high intensity laser facilities requires a detailed understanding of how accelerating charged particles interact with their own radiation fields. The Abraham-Lorentz-Dirac (ALD) equation - the standard description of radiation reaction - is beset with difficulties, but when handled with care can provide useful information. A kinetic theory has been developed, based on the exact ALD equation. Although the unphysical solutions of the ALD equation obstruct the reduction of this theory to the usual Vlasov-Maxwell system in the appropriate limit, its moments give rise to a fluid theory which does have the correct limiting behaviour. As a simple illustration of the theory, the radiative damping of Langmuir waves gives rise to a modified dispersion relation. A new unphysical instability is found, originating from the runaway solutions of the ALD equation, which must be rejected, leaving the physical solutions which display the correct slow damping.