Relativistic laser-plasma interactions in the quantum regime

Eliasson, Bengt and Shukla, Padma (2011) Relativistic laser-plasma interactions in the quantum regime. Physical Review E, 83 (4). ISSN 1539-3755

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Abstract

We consider nonlinear interactions between a relativistically strong laser beam and a plasma in the quantum regime. The collective behavior of electrons is modeled by a Klein-Gordon equation, which is nonlinearly coupled with the electromagnetic wave through the Maxwell and Poisson equations. This allows us to study nonlinear interactions between arbitrarily large-amplitude electromagnetic waves and a quantum plasma. We have used our system of nonlinear equations to study theoretically the parametric instabilities involving stimulated Raman scattering and modulational instabilities. A model for quasi-steady-state propagating electromagnetic wave packets is also derived, and which shows possibility of localized solitary structures in a quantum plasma. Numerical simulations demonstrate collapse and acceleration of electrons in the nonlinear stage of the modulational instability, as well as possibility of the wake-field acceleration of electrons to relativistic speeds by short laser pulses at nanometer length scales. Our study is relevant for understanding the localization of intense electromagnetic pulses in a quantum plasma with extremely high electron densities and relatively low temperature.