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Title: Collisionless shock experiments with lasers and observation of Weibel instabilities

Astrophysical collisionless shocks are common in the universe, occurring in supernova remnants, gamma ray bursts, and protostellar jets. They appear in colliding plasma flows when the mean free path for ion-ion collisions is much larger than the system size. It is believed that such shocks could be mediated via the electromagnetic Weibel instability in astrophysical environments without pre-existing magnetic fields. Here, we present laboratory experiments using high-power lasers and investigate the dynamics of high-Mach-number collisionless shock formation in two interpenetrating plasma streams. Our recent proton-probe experiments on Omega show the characteristic filamentary structures of the Weibel instability that are electromagnetic in nature with an inferred magnetization level as high as ∼1% [C. M. Huntington et al., “Observation of magnetic field generation via the weibel instability in interpenetrating plasma flows,” Nat. Phys. 11, 173–176 (2015)]. These results imply that electromagnetic instabilities are significant in the interaction of astrophysical conditions.
Authors:
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  1. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, California 94550 (United States)
  2. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109 (United States)
  3. Laboratory for Laser Energetics, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York 14636 (United States)
  4. University of Oxford, Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PU (United Kingdom)
  5. LULI, Ecole Polytechnique, Palaiseau (France)
  6. Lam Research Corporation, Fremont, California 94538 (United States)
  7. University of Chicago, Chicago, California 94538 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22410407
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Physics of Plasmas; Journal Volume: 22; Journal Issue: 5; Other Information: (c) 2015 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; ION-ION COLLISIONS; LASERS; MACH NUMBER; MAGNETIC FIELDS; MAGNETIZATION; MEAN FREE PATH; OMEGA FACILITY; PLASMA INSTABILITY; PROTON PROBES; PROTOSTARS; SHOCK WAVES; SUPERNOVA REMNANTS