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Title: Magnetic fields and non-local transport in laser plasmas
Author: Ridgers, Christopher Paul
ISNI:       0000 0000 7237 5929
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2008
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The first Vlasov-Fokker-Planck simulations of nanosecond laser-plasma interactions – including the effects of self-consistent magnetic fields and hydrodynamic plasma expansion – will be presented. The coupling between non-locality and magnetic field advection is elucidated. For the largest (initially uniform) magnetic fields externally imposed in recent long-pulse laser gas-jet plasma experiments (12T) a significant degree of cavitation of the B-field will be shown to occur (> 40%) in under 500ps. This is due to the Nernst effect and leads to the re-emergence of non-locality even if the initial value of the magnetic field strength is sufficient to localize transport. Classical transport theory may also break down in such interactions as a result of inverse bremsstrahlung heating. Although non-locality may be suppressed by a large B-field, inverse bremsstrahlung still leads to a highly distorted distribution. Indeed the best fit for a 12T applied field (after 440ps of laser heating) is found to be a super- Gaussian distribution – f0 α e−vm – with m = 3.4. The effects of such a distribution on the transport properties under the influence of magnetic fields are elucidated in the context of laser-plasmas for the first time. In long pulse laser-plasma interactions magnetic fields generated by the thermoelectric (‘∇ne × ∇Te’) mechanism are generally considered dominant. The strength of B-fields generated by this mechanism are affected, and new generation mechanisms are expected, when non-locality is important. Non-local B-field generation is found to be dominant in the interaction of an elliptical laser spot with a nitrogen gas-jet.
Supervisor: Kingham, Robert Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral