Laser beam filamentation and stochastic electron heating at upper hybrid layer

Sharma, Prerana; Mahmoud, S. T.; Gupta, M. K.; Sharma, R. P.
April 2008
Physics of Plasmas;Apr2008, Vol. 15 Issue 4, p042105
Academic Journal
This paper presents an investigation of the filamentation (single hot spot) of an ultrahigh-power laser beam in homogeneous plasma. Upper hybrid wave (UHW) coupling in these filaments has been studied. We have discussed two extreme scenarios: (1) The laser beam has ultrahigh power so that relativistic and ponderomotive nonlinearities are operative; and (2) the laser beam power is moderate, therefore only ponderomotive nonlinearity dominates. At ultrahigh laser powers, relativistic and ponderomotive nonlinearities lead to filamentation of the laser beam. In these filamentary regions, the UHW gets coupled to the laser beam, and a large fraction of the pump (laser beam) energy gets transferred to UHW and this excited UHW can accelerate the electrons. In the second case, nonlinear coupling between the laser beam and the upper hybrid wave leads to the localization of the UHW. Electrons interacting with the localized fields of the UHW demonstrate chaotic motion. The simulation result confirms the presence of chaotic fields, and interaction of these fields with electrons leads to velocity space diffusion, which is accompanied by particle heating. Using the Fokker–Planck equation, the heating of electrons has been estimated. The effect of the change of background magnetic field strength on heating has also been discussed.


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