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Title: Collisionless Weibel shocks: Full formation mechanism and timing

Collisionless shocks in plasmas play an important role in space physics (Earth's bow shock) and astrophysics (supernova remnants, relativistic jets, gamma-ray bursts, high energy cosmic rays). While the formation of a fluid shock through the steepening of a large amplitude sound wave has been understood for long, there is currently no detailed picture of the mechanism responsible for the formation of a collisionless shock. We unravel the physical mechanism at work and show that an electromagnetic Weibel shock always forms when two relativistic collisionless, initially unmagnetized, plasma shells encounter. The predicted shock formation time is in good agreement with 2D and 3D particle-in-cell simulations of counterstreaming pair plasmas. By predicting the shock formation time, experimental setups aiming at producing such shocks can be optimised to favourable conditions.
Authors:
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [5] ;  [3]
  1. ETSI Industriales, Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, 13071 Ciudad Real (Spain)
  2. (Spain)
  3. GoLP/Instituto de Plasmas e Fusão Nuclear, Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, Lisbon (Portugal)
  4. (Germany)
  5. Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden Street, MS-51 Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22304078
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Physics of Plasmas; Journal Volume: 21; Journal Issue: 7; Other Information: (c) 2014 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; COSMIC GAMMA BURSTS; PLASMA; RELATIVISTIC RANGE; SHOCK WAVES; SIMULATION; SOUND WAVES; SUPERNOVA REMNANTS