skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Hot-electron generation by 'cavitating' Langmuir turbulence in the nonlinear stage of the two-plasmon-decay instability

Abstract

The kinetic reduced-description particle-in-cell simulation technique has been applied to study the nonlinear stage of two-plasmon-decay (TPD) instability in an inhomogeneous plasma driven by crossed laser beams. The TPD instability is found to be a prolific generator of 'cavitating' Langmuir turbulence. Langmuir 'cavitons'-localized longitudinal electric fields, oscillating near the local electron plasma frequency, trapped in ponderomotive density depressions-collapse to dimensions of a few electron Debye lengths, where the electric field energy is collisionlessly transferred to electron kinetic energy. The resulting hot electrons can attain instantaneous temperatures up to 100 keV with net suprathermal heat flux out of the system of up to a few percent of the input laser energy. Scaling laws for this hot-electron generation by TPD, in regimes motivated by recent experiments on the Omega laser, were presented recently by Vu et al. (H. X. Vu, D. F. DuBois, D. A. Russell, and J. F. Myatt, Phys. Plasmas 19, 102703 (2012)). This paper concentrates on the microscopic mechanisms for hot-electron generation. The spatial distribution of the maxima of the electric field envelope modulus is found to be very spiky, with the distribution of electric field envelope maxima obeying Gaussian statistics. The cavitons are produced in density-depletion trenches producedmore » by the combined ponderomotive interference of the crossed laser beams and the ponderomotive beats of the primary backward-going TPD Langmuir waves (LWs) resulting from the crossed beams. The Langmuir turbulence is strongest in the electron-density region near 0.241 Multiplication-Sign the laser's critical density, where the forward LWs from the crossed-beam TPD are degenerate. Nucleation of cavitons is assisted by the modulation of the electron density in the trenches, which in turn is caused by the beating of the common forward-going LW and the pair of backward-going LWs. The autocorrelation function of the LW envelope field provides a near-universal shape for intense cavitons-in the neighborhood of the local field maxima. The hot-electron temperature is found to be approximately a linear function of the 'caviton temperature' determined from the Gaussian distribution of caviton maxima. These diagnostics provide strong evidence for the importance of Langmuir caviton collapse in the generation of hot electrons by TPD. Extended Zakharov model predictions for TPD exhibit the same qualitative phenomena.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [2];  [2];  [3]
  1. Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093 (United States)
  2. Lodestar Research Corporation, Boulder, Colorado 80301 (United States)
  3. Laboratory for Laser Energetics, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York 14623 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22068832
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Journal Name:
Physics of Plasmas
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 19; Journal Issue: 10; Other Information: (c) 2012 American Institute of Physics; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); Journal ID: ISSN 1070-664X
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
70 PLASMA PHYSICS AND FUSION TECHNOLOGY; COLLIDING BEAMS; DEBYE LENGTH; DECAY INSTABILITY; ELECTRIC FIELDS; ELECTRON DENSITY; ELECTRON TEMPERATURE; ELECTRONS; GAUSS FUNCTION; HEAT FLUX; INHOMOGENEOUS PLASMA; KEV RANGE; KINETIC ENERGY; LANGMUIR FREQUENCY; PLASMONS; SCALING LAWS; SPATIAL DISTRIBUTION; TURBULENCE

Citation Formats

Vu, H X, DuBois, D F, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico 87545, Russell, D A, and Myatt, J F. Hot-electron generation by 'cavitating' Langmuir turbulence in the nonlinear stage of the two-plasmon-decay instability. United States: N. p., 2012. Web. doi:10.1063/1.4764075.
Vu, H X, DuBois, D F, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico 87545, Russell, D A, & Myatt, J F. Hot-electron generation by 'cavitating' Langmuir turbulence in the nonlinear stage of the two-plasmon-decay instability. United States. doi:10.1063/1.4764075.
Vu, H X, DuBois, D F, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico 87545, Russell, D A, and Myatt, J F. Mon . "Hot-electron generation by 'cavitating' Langmuir turbulence in the nonlinear stage of the two-plasmon-decay instability". United States. doi:10.1063/1.4764075.
@article{osti_22068832,
title = {Hot-electron generation by 'cavitating' Langmuir turbulence in the nonlinear stage of the two-plasmon-decay instability},
author = {Vu, H X and DuBois, D F and Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico 87545 and Russell, D A and Myatt, J F},
abstractNote = {The kinetic reduced-description particle-in-cell simulation technique has been applied to study the nonlinear stage of two-plasmon-decay (TPD) instability in an inhomogeneous plasma driven by crossed laser beams. The TPD instability is found to be a prolific generator of 'cavitating' Langmuir turbulence. Langmuir 'cavitons'-localized longitudinal electric fields, oscillating near the local electron plasma frequency, trapped in ponderomotive density depressions-collapse to dimensions of a few electron Debye lengths, where the electric field energy is collisionlessly transferred to electron kinetic energy. The resulting hot electrons can attain instantaneous temperatures up to 100 keV with net suprathermal heat flux out of the system of up to a few percent of the input laser energy. Scaling laws for this hot-electron generation by TPD, in regimes motivated by recent experiments on the Omega laser, were presented recently by Vu et al. (H. X. Vu, D. F. DuBois, D. A. Russell, and J. F. Myatt, Phys. Plasmas 19, 102703 (2012)). This paper concentrates on the microscopic mechanisms for hot-electron generation. The spatial distribution of the maxima of the electric field envelope modulus is found to be very spiky, with the distribution of electric field envelope maxima obeying Gaussian statistics. The cavitons are produced in density-depletion trenches produced by the combined ponderomotive interference of the crossed laser beams and the ponderomotive beats of the primary backward-going TPD Langmuir waves (LWs) resulting from the crossed beams. The Langmuir turbulence is strongest in the electron-density region near 0.241 Multiplication-Sign the laser's critical density, where the forward LWs from the crossed-beam TPD are degenerate. Nucleation of cavitons is assisted by the modulation of the electron density in the trenches, which in turn is caused by the beating of the common forward-going LW and the pair of backward-going LWs. The autocorrelation function of the LW envelope field provides a near-universal shape for intense cavitons-in the neighborhood of the local field maxima. The hot-electron temperature is found to be approximately a linear function of the 'caviton temperature' determined from the Gaussian distribution of caviton maxima. These diagnostics provide strong evidence for the importance of Langmuir caviton collapse in the generation of hot electrons by TPD. Extended Zakharov model predictions for TPD exhibit the same qualitative phenomena.},
doi = {10.1063/1.4764075},
journal = {Physics of Plasmas},
issn = {1070-664X},
number = 10,
volume = 19,
place = {United States},
year = {2012},
month = {10}
}