Analytic model of electron beam thermalization during the resistive Weibel instability

Siemon, Carl; Khudik, Vladimir; Shvets, Gennady
October 2011
Physics of Plasmas;Oct2011, Vol. 18 Issue 10, p103109
Academic Journal
A novel theoretical model for underdense electron beam propagation during the nonlinear stage of the resistive Weibel instability (WI) is presented and is used to calculate the stopping time of the beam. The model and supporting simulation results lead to the conclusion that the WI initially enhances beam deceleration but then reduces it when compared to a filamentation-suppressed beam (without WI), so that the overall stopping time of the beam is essentially unaffected by the instability. Using the theoretical model, a criterion is derived that determines when deceleration is no longer enhanced by the instability. We also demonstrate that exotic plasma return current distributions can be obtained within and outside of beam filaments that sharply contrast those observed in collisionless systems. For example, the plasma return current is reversed in selected areas.


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