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Weak collisionless shocks in laser-plasmas

Cairns, RA and Bingham, R and Trines, RGM and Norreys, P (2015) Weak collisionless shocks in laser-plasmas. Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 57. ISSN 1463-9076

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Abstract

We obtain a theory describing laminar shock-like structures in a collisionless plasma and examine the parameter limits, in terms of the ion sound Mach number and the electron/ion temperature ratio, within which these structures exist. The essential feature is the inclusion of finite ion temperature with the result that some ions are reflected from a potential ramp. This destroys the symmetry between upstream and downstream regions that would otherwise give the well-known ion solitary wave solution. We have shown earlier (Cairns et al 2014 Phys. Plasmas 21 022112) that such structures may be relevant to problems such as the existence of strong, localized electric fields observed in laser compressed pellets and laser acceleration of ions. Here we present results on the way in which these structures may produce species separation in fusion targets and suggest that it may be possible to use shock ion acceleration for fast ignition.