, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 26-45

Localization of magnetized electrons in current filaments as a fundamental cause of Coulomb explosion

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Abstract

Mechanisms for generating current filaments in a dense plasma under the action of focused laser pulses and in a Z-pinch configuration are discussed. The main properties of current filaments with a zero and nonzero electron vorticity Ω e =B−(c/e)×p e that originate at magnetic fields in the range 4πn e m e c 2B 2≪4πn i m i c 2 are investigated under the conditions of Coulomb explosion at currents below the ion Alfvén current. A study is made of the equilibrium configurations of nonquasineutral current filaments in a purely longitudinal (B z) and a purely azimuthal (B θ) magnetic field and also in a more general case of a helical magnetic field, having two components, under conditions such that the charge separation occurs on a spatial scale on the order of the magnetic Debye radius r B ≃ |B|/(4πen e. It is shown that strong electric fields generated in the current filaments are comparable in magnitude to the atomic field and are capable of accelerating ions to energies of several tens of megaelectronvolts. The ion dynamics in strong electric fields of the filaments is calculated numerically and is shown to lead to the formation of collisionless shock waves on time scales on the order of several inverse ion plasma frequencies ω pi −1 . The possible formation of current filaments on different spatiotemporal scales is considered.

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Translated from Fizika Plazmy, Vol. 31, No. 1, 2005, pp. 30–51.
Original Russian Text Copyright © 2005 by Gordeev, Losseva.