A coupled two-step plasma instability in PW laser plasma interactions

Mendonca, J T and Norreys, P and Bingham, R and Davies, J R (2005) A coupled two-step plasma instability in PW laser plasma interactions. Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion, 47 (12B). B799-B805. ISSN 0741-3335

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Abstract

A possible new mechanism for anomalous ion heating in ultra-intense laser plasmas is considered here. This mechanism is based on the excitation of an electron two-stream instability that is driven by the fast electron beam and resonantly decays into ion-acousticwaves. These lowfrequencywaves are then strongly damped by the ion collisions in the dense plasma. The model gives a simple explanation for the preferential heating of the bulk ion population observed in recent laser experiments in the petawatt (PW) regime.