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Title: Particle-in-cell simulations of collisionless shock formation via head-on merging of two laboratory supersonic plasma jets

We describe numerical simulations, using the particle-in-cell (PIC) and hybrid-PIC code lsp[T. P. Hughes et al., Phys. Rev. ST Accel. Beams 2, 110401 (1999)], of the head-on merging of two laboratory supersonic plasma jets. The goals of these experiments are to form and study astrophysically relevant collisionless shocks in the laboratory. Using the plasma jet initial conditions (density ∼10{sup 14}–10{sup 16} cm{sup −3}, temperature ∼ few eV, and propagation speed ∼20–150 km/s), large-scale simulations of jet propagation demonstrate that interactions between the two jets are essentially collisionless at the merge region. In highly resolved one- and two-dimensional simulations, we show that collisionless shocks are generated by the merging jets when immersed in applied magnetic fields (B∼0.1–1 T). At expected plasma jet speeds of up to 150 km/s, our simulations do not give rise to unmagnetized collisionless shocks, which require much higher velocities. The orientation of the magnetic field and the axial and transverse density gradients of the jets have a strong effect on the nature of the interaction. We compare some of our simulation results with those of previously published PIC simulation studies of collisionless shock formation.
Authors:
;  [1] ;  [2]
  1. Voss Scientific, LLC, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87108 (United States)
  2. Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico 87545 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22227882
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Physics of Plasmas; Journal Volume: 20; Journal Issue: 8; Other Information: (c) 2013 AIP Publishing LLC; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
70 PLASMA PHYSICS AND FUSION TECHNOLOGY; ASTROPHYSICS; COMPARATIVE EVALUATIONS; COMPUTERIZED SIMULATION; ELECTRON TEMPERATURE; HYDROGEN; I CODES; ION TEMPERATURE; MAGNETIC FIELDS; NUMERICAL ANALYSIS; PLASMA DENSITY; PLASMA JETS; PLASMA SIMULATION; SHOCK WAVES; TWO-DIMENSIONAL CALCULATIONS