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Title: Magnetic field production via the Weibel instability in interpenetrating plasma flows

Abstract

Here, many astrophysical systems are effectively “collisionless,” that is, the mean free path for collisions between particles is much longer than the size of the system. The absence of particle collisions does not preclude shock formation, however, as shocks can be the result of plasma instabilities that generate and amplify electromagnetic fields. The magnetic fields required for shock formation may either be initially present, for example, in supernova remnants or young galaxies, or they may be self-generated in systems such as gamma-ray bursts (GRBs). In the case of GRB outflows, the Weibel instability is a candidate mechanism for the generation of sufficiently strong magnetic fields to produce shocks. In experiments on the OMEGA Laser, we have demonstrated a quasi-collisionless system that is optimized for the study of the non-linear phase of Weibel instability growth. Using a proton probe to directly image electromagnetic fields, we measure Weibel-generated magnetic fields that grow in opposing, initially unmagnetized plasma flows. The collisionality of the system is determined from coherent Thomson scattering measurements, and the data are compared to similar measurements of a fully collisionless system. The strong, persistent Weibel growth observed here serves as a diagnostic for exploring large-scale magnetic field amplification and themore » microphysics present in the collisional–collisionless transition.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1];  [2];  [1];  [1];  [3]; ORCiD logo [1];  [1];  [4]; ORCiD logo [1];  [5];  [1]; ORCiD logo [1];  [1];  [3]; ORCiD logo [6];  [7];  [5]; ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [6]; ORCiD logo [8]
  1. Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
  2. Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI (United States)
  3. SLAC National Accelerator Lab., Menlo Park, CA (United States)
  4. Univ. of Oxford, Oxford (United Kingdom)
  5. Princeton Univ., Princeton, NJ (United States)
  6. Osaka Univ., Osaka (Japan)
  7. Massachusetts Inst. of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA (United States)
  8. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1357407
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1361845
Report Number(s):
LLNL-PROC-717204
Journal ID: ISSN 1070-664X; PHPAEN
Grant/Contract Number:
AC52-07NA27344; 15-ERD-065
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Physics of Plasmas
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 24; Journal Issue: 4; Conference: High Energy Density Laboratory Astrophysics, Palo Alto, CA (United States), 16-21 May 2016; Journal ID: ISSN 1070-664X
Publisher:
American Institute of Physics (AIP)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTRONOMY AND ASTROPHYSICS; 70 PLASMA PHYSICS AND FUSION

Citation Formats

Huntington, C. M., Manuel, M. J. -E., Ross, J. S., Wilks, S. C., Fiuza, F., Rinderknecht, H. G., Park, H. -S., Gregori, G., Higginson, D. P., Park, J., Pollock, B. B., Remington, B. A., Ryutov, D. D., Ruyer, C., Sakawa, Y., Sio, H., Spitkovsky, A., Swadling, G. F., Takabe, H., and Zylstra, A. B. Magnetic field production via the Weibel instability in interpenetrating plasma flows. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1063/1.4982044.
Huntington, C. M., Manuel, M. J. -E., Ross, J. S., Wilks, S. C., Fiuza, F., Rinderknecht, H. G., Park, H. -S., Gregori, G., Higginson, D. P., Park, J., Pollock, B. B., Remington, B. A., Ryutov, D. D., Ruyer, C., Sakawa, Y., Sio, H., Spitkovsky, A., Swadling, G. F., Takabe, H., & Zylstra, A. B. Magnetic field production via the Weibel instability in interpenetrating plasma flows. United States. doi:10.1063/1.4982044.
Huntington, C. M., Manuel, M. J. -E., Ross, J. S., Wilks, S. C., Fiuza, F., Rinderknecht, H. G., Park, H. -S., Gregori, G., Higginson, D. P., Park, J., Pollock, B. B., Remington, B. A., Ryutov, D. D., Ruyer, C., Sakawa, Y., Sio, H., Spitkovsky, A., Swadling, G. F., Takabe, H., and Zylstra, A. B. Wed . "Magnetic field production via the Weibel instability in interpenetrating plasma flows". United States. doi:10.1063/1.4982044. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1357407.
@article{osti_1357407,
title = {Magnetic field production via the Weibel instability in interpenetrating plasma flows},
author = {Huntington, C. M. and Manuel, M. J. -E. and Ross, J. S. and Wilks, S. C. and Fiuza, F. and Rinderknecht, H. G. and Park, H. -S. and Gregori, G. and Higginson, D. P. and Park, J. and Pollock, B. B. and Remington, B. A. and Ryutov, D. D. and Ruyer, C. and Sakawa, Y. and Sio, H. and Spitkovsky, A. and Swadling, G. F. and Takabe, H. and Zylstra, A. B.},
abstractNote = {Here, many astrophysical systems are effectively “collisionless,” that is, the mean free path for collisions between particles is much longer than the size of the system. The absence of particle collisions does not preclude shock formation, however, as shocks can be the result of plasma instabilities that generate and amplify electromagnetic fields. The magnetic fields required for shock formation may either be initially present, for example, in supernova remnants or young galaxies, or they may be self-generated in systems such as gamma-ray bursts (GRBs). In the case of GRB outflows, the Weibel instability is a candidate mechanism for the generation of sufficiently strong magnetic fields to produce shocks. In experiments on the OMEGA Laser, we have demonstrated a quasi-collisionless system that is optimized for the study of the non-linear phase of Weibel instability growth. Using a proton probe to directly image electromagnetic fields, we measure Weibel-generated magnetic fields that grow in opposing, initially unmagnetized plasma flows. The collisionality of the system is determined from coherent Thomson scattering measurements, and the data are compared to similar measurements of a fully collisionless system. The strong, persistent Weibel growth observed here serves as a diagnostic for exploring large-scale magnetic field amplification and the microphysics present in the collisional–collisionless transition.},
doi = {10.1063/1.4982044},
journal = {Physics of Plasmas},
number = 4,
volume = 24,
place = {United States},
year = {Wed Apr 26 00:00:00 EDT 2017},
month = {Wed Apr 26 00:00:00 EDT 2017}
}

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  • Cited by 2
  • Collisionless shocks can be produced as a result of strong magnetic fields in a plasma flow, and therefore are common in many astrophysical systems. The Weibel instability is one candidate mechanism for the generation of su fficiently strong fields to create a collisionless shock. Despite their crucial role in astrophysical systems, observation of the magnetic fields produced by Weibel instabilities in experiments has been challenging. Using a proton probe to directly image electromagnetic fields, we present evidence of Weibel-generated magnetic fields that grow in opposing, initially unmagnetized plasma flows from laser-driven laboratory experiments. Three-dimensional particle-in-cell simulations reveal that the instabilitymore » effi ciently extracts energy from the plasma flows, and that the self-generated magnetic energy reaches a few percent of the total energy in the system. Furthermore, this result demonstrates an experimental platform suitable for the investigation of a wide range of astrophysical phenomena, including collisionless shock formation in supernova remnants, large-scale magnetic field amplification, and the radiation signature from gamma-ray bursts.« less
  • The linear stage of the two-stream instability of interpenetrating, collisionless plasmas which do not contain a magnetic field and which are sharply bounded by a longitudinal external magnetic field is studied. Both the kinetic and the hydrodynamic models of the instability are analyzed under the assumption of cold electrons. Conditions for the onset of the instability are given. Numerical calculations of the growth rates and a picture of the modes are reported. The instability is shown to be aperiodic and to have a long-wave limit (it also has a short-wave limit in the kinetic treatment). The growth rates are typicallymore » on the order of v/sub T//a, where v/sub T/ is the ion thermal velocity, and a is the transverse dimension of the plasmas.« less
  • In the laser foil-plasma interaction the effects of Weibel-like instability have been explored. The self-induced magnetic fields result in the merging of filaments formed at the earlier stage of the instability and subsequent formation of a plasma clump close to the laser propagation axis. A photon cavity is formed in the laser plasma interactions, which can accelerate and focus the proton bunch efficiently, as identified by multidimensional particle-in-cell simulations. These processes are helpful to realize the stable acceleration of hundreds of MeV proton beams with a very low energy spread with circularly polarized intense laser pulses.
  • The Weibel instability could be responsible for the generation of magnetic fields in various objects such as gamma-ray bursts, jets from active galactic nuclei, and clusters of galaxies. Using numerical simulations, the development of the Weibel instability at a temperature gradient is studied. It is found that current sheets are first generated at the gradient, and then they are rounded off and turn into current filaments. During this process, return currents are generated around the filaments and they prevent filaments from the merger. The magnetic fields around the filaments persist at least until t{approx}8000/{omega}{sub p}, where {omega}{sub p} is themore » plasma frequency, and it is very likely that they survive for a much longer time.« less