Integrated kinetic simulation of laser-plasma interactions, fast-electron generation, and transport in fast ignition

Kemp, A. J.; Cohen, B. I.; Divol, L.
May 2010
Physics of Plasmas;May2010, Vol. 17 Issue 5, p056702
Academic Journal
We present new results on the physics of short-pulse laser-matter interaction of kilojoule-picosecond pulses at full spatial and temporal scale using a new approach that combines a three-dimensional collisional electromagnetic particle-in-cell code with a magnetohydrodynamic-hybrid model of high-density plasma. In the latter, collisions damp out plasma waves, and an Ohm’s law with electron inertia effects neglected determines the electric field. In addition to yielding orders of magnitude in speed-up while avoiding numerical instabilities, this allows us to model the whole problem in a single unified framework: the laser-plasma interaction at subcritical densities, energy deposition at relativistic critical densities, and fast- electron transport in solid densities. Key questions such as the multipicosecond temporal evolution of the laser energy conversion into hot electrons, the impact of return currents on the laser-plasma interaction, and the effect of self-generated electric and magnetic fields on electron transport will be addressed. We will report applications to current experiments.


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