, Volume 29, Issue 9, pp 748-756

Formation of a Z-pinch during electromagnetic compression of a nonquasineutral current filament

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Abstract

A study is made of the structure of a relativistic current filament with the azimuthal magnetic field B θ in the range 4πn e m e c 2B θ 2 n i m i c 2, when the plasma quasineutrality near the filament axis is violated and a narrow peak in electron density is formed there. The ion dynamics in a strong radial electric field of the filament on time scales of about several inverse ion plasma frequencies ω pi −1 is investigated. The initial ion pressure prevents the ion plasma component from compression to infinitely high densities under the action of the electric field and leads to the formation of a dense hot plasma core near the axis of the Z-pinch on time scales of about a dozen ω pi −1 . The compression of the ion component in the axial region gives rise to a collisionless “unloading” shock wave that propagates away from the axis and is accompanied by the vanishing of the radial ion velocity behind the shock front, the accumulation of positive charge near the axis, and the formation of a steady-state ion density profile. It is shown theoretically that ion-ion dissipation manifests itself as the destruction of the hot core of the formed Z-pinch on picosecond time scales. This may serve to explain the explosions of “hot points” in a current-carrying plasma.

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Translated from Fizika Plazmy, Vol. 29, No. 9, 2003, pp. 809–817.
Original Russian Text Copyright © 2003 by Gordeev, Losseva.