skip to main content


Title: Generation and Evolution of High-Mach-Number Laser-Driven Magnetized Collisionless Shocks in the Laboratory

Here, we present the first laboratory generation of high-Mach-number magnetized collisionless shocks created through the interaction of an expanding laser-driven plasma with a magnetized ambient plasma. Time-resolved, two-dimensional imaging of plasma density and magnetic fields shows the formation and evolution of a supercritical shock propagating at magnetosonic Mach number M ms ≈ 12. Particle-in-cell simulations constrained by experimental data further detail the shock formation and separate dynamics of the multi-ion-species ambient plasma. The results show that the shocks form on time scales as fast as one gyroperiod, aided by the efficient coupling of energy, and the generation of a magnetic barrier between the piston and ambient ions. The development of this experimental platform complements present remote sensing and spacecraft observations, and opens the way for controlled laboratory investigations of high-Mach number collisionless shocks, including the mechanisms and efficiency of particle acceleration.
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4] ; ORCiD logo [5] ;  [3] ;  [3] ;  [6]
  1. Princeton Univ., Princeton, NJ (United States)
  2. Princeton Plasma Physics Lab. (PPPL), Princeton, NJ (United States)
  3. Univ. of Rochester, Rochester, NY (United States)
  4. Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI (United States)
  5. Princeton Univ., Princeton, NJ (United States); Princeton Plasma Physics Lab. (PPPL), Princeton, NJ (United States)
  6. Univ. of New Hampshire, Durham, NH (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
NA0002731; SC0008655; SC0016249; AC05-00OR22725
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Physical Review Letters
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 119; Journal Issue: 2; Journal ID: ISSN 0031-9007
American Physical Society (APS)
Research Org:
Princeton Plasma Physics Lab. (PPPL), Princeton, NJ (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Fusion Energy Sciences (FES) (SC-24)
Country of Publication:
United States
70 PLASMA PHYSICS AND FUSION TECHNOLOGY; electron acceleration; plasma; expansion; field; model; wave
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1369590