, Volume 35, Issue 2, pp 118-135
Date: 11 Mar 2009

Nonquasineutral relativistic current filaments and their X-ray emission

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Nonquasineutral electron current filaments with the azimuthal magnetic field are considered that arise due to the generation of electron vorticity in the initial (dissipative) stage of evolution of a current-carrying plasma, when the Hall number is small (σB/en e c ≪ 1) because of the low values of the plasma conductivity and magnetic field strength. Equilibrium filamentary structures with both zero and nonzero net currents are considered. Structures with a zero net current type form on time scales of t < t sk = (r 0ω pe /c)2 t st, where t sk is the skin time, t st is the typical time of electron-ion collisions, and r 0 is the radius of the filament. It is shown that, in nonquasineutral filaments in which the current is carried by electrons drifting in the crossed electric (E r ) and magnetic (B θ) fields, ultrarelativistic electron beams on the typical charge-separation scale r B = B/(4πen e ) (the so-called magnetic Debye radius) can be generated. It is found that, for comparable electron currents, the characteristic electron energy in filaments with a nonzero net current is significantly lower than that in zero-net-current filaments that form on typical time scales of t < t sk. This is because, in the latter type of filaments, the oppositely directed electron currents repel one another; as a result, both the density and velocity of electrons increase near the filament axis, where the velocities of relativistic electrons are maximum. Filaments with a zero net current can emit X rays with photon energies ℏ ω up to 10 MeV. The electron velocity distributions in filaments, the X-ray emission spectra, and the total X-ray yield per unit filament length are calculated as functions of the current and the electron number density in the filament. Analytical estimates of the characteristic lifetime of a radiating filament and the typical size of the radiating region as functions of the plasma density are obtained. The results of calculations are compared with the available experimental data.

Original Russian Text © A.V. Gordeev, T.V. Losseva, 2009, published in Fizika Plazmy, 2009, Vol. 35, No. 2, pp. 141–160.