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Author ORCID ID is 0000000154899144
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  1. Collisionless coupling between super Alfvénic ions and an ambient plasma parallel to a background magnetic field is mediated by a set of electromagnetic ion/ion-beam instabilities including the resonant right hand instability (RHI). To study this coupling and its role in parallel shock formation, a new experimental configuration at the University of California, Los Angeles utilizes high-energy and high-repetition-rate lasers to create a super-Alfvénic field-aligned debris plasma within an ambient plasma in the Large Plasma Device. We used a time-resolved fluorescence monochromator and an array of Langmuir probes to characterize the laser plasma velocity distribution and density. The debris ions weremore » observed to be sufficiently super-Alfvénic and dense to excite the RHI. Measurements with magnetic flux probes exhibited a right-hand circularly polarized frequency chirp consistent with the excitation of the RHI near the laser target. To conclude, we compared measurements to 2D hybrid simulations of the experiment.« less
  2. Collisionless shocks are common phenomena in space and astrophysical systems, and in many cases, the shocks can be modeled as the result of the expansion of a magnetic piston though a magnetized ambient plasma. Only recently, however, have laser facilities and diagnostic capabilities evolved sufficiently to allow the detailed study in the laboratory of the microphysics of piston-driven shocks. We review experiments on collisionless shocks driven by a laser-produced magnetic piston undertaken with the Phoenix laser laboratory and the Large Plasma Device at the University of California, Los Angeles. The experiments span a large parameter space in laser energy, backgroundmore » magnetic field, and ambient plasma properties that allow us to probe the physics of piston-ambient energy coupling, the launching of magnetosonic solitons, and the formation of subcritical shocks. Here, the results indicate that piston-driven magnetized collisionless shocks in the laboratory can be characterized with a small set of dimensionless formation parameters that place the formation process in an organized and predictive framework.« less
  3. We present two-dimensional hybrid kinetic/magnetohydrodynamic simulations of planned laser-ablation experiments in the Large Plasma Device (LAPD). Our results, based on parameters which have been validated in previous experiments, show that a parallel collisionless shock can begin forming within the available space. Carbon-debris ions that stream along the magnetic- eld direction with a blow-o speed of four times the Alfv en velocity excite strong magnetic uctuations, eventually transfering part of their kinetic energy to the surrounding hydrogen ions. This acceleration and compression of the background plasma creates a shock front, which satis es the Rankine{Hugoniot conditions and can therefore propagate onmore » its own. Furthermore, we analyze the upstream turbulence and show that it is dominated by the right-hand resonant instability.« less
  4. Experiments, analytic modeling, and numerical simulations are presented here to characterize carbon plasmas produced by high-intensity (10 9-10 13 W cm -2) lasers relevant to experimental laboratory astrophysics. In the large-scale limit, the results agree well with a self-similar isentropic, adiabatic fluid model. Laser-target simulations, however, show small-scale structure in the velocity distribution of different ion species, which is also seen in experiments. These distributions indicate that most of the plasma energy resides in moderate charge states (C +3–C +4), most of the mass resides in the lowest charge states, and the highest charge states move fastest.

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