Target electron collision effects on energy loss straggling of protons in an electron gas at any degeneracy

Barriga-Carrasco, Manuel D.
March 2008
Physics of Plasmas;Mar2008, Vol. 15 Issue 3, p033103
Academic Journal
The purpose of the present paper is to describe the effects of target electron collisions on proton energy loss straggling in plasmas at any degeneracy. Targets are considered fully ionized so electronic energy loss is only due to the free electrons. The analysis is focused on targets with electronic density around solid values ne≃1023 cm-3 and with temperature around T≃10 eV; these targets are in the limit of weakly coupled electron gases. These types of plasma targets have not been studied extensively, though they are very important for inertial confinement fusion. The energy loss straggling is obtained from an exact quantum-mechanical evaluation, which takes into account the degeneracy of the target plasma, and later it is compared with common classical and degenerate approximations. Then electron collisions in the exact quantum-mechanical straggling calculation are considered. Now the energy loss straggling is enhanced for energies smaller than the energy before the maximum, then decreases around this maximum, and finally tends to the same values with respect to noncollisional calculation. Differences with the same results but not taking into account these collisions are as far as 17% in the cases analyzed. As an example, proton range distributions have been calculated to show the importance of an accurate energy straggling calculation.


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