Self-induced transparency scenario revisited via beat-wave heating induced by Doppler shift in overdense plasma layer

Abstract : Maxwell-fluid simulations on a flat-topped moderately overdense plasma slab (typically n0∕nc=1–2) by Berezhiani et al. [Phys. Plasmas 66, 062308 (2005)] {see also the previous work of Tushentsov et al. [Phys. Rev. Lett. 87, 275002 (2001)]} were seen to lead to dynamic penetration of an ultrahigh intensity laser pulse into an overdense plasma. Two qualitatively different scenarios for the penetration of laser pulse into the overdense plasma were presented depending on the background density. In the first one, the penetration of laser energy occurs by soliton-like structures moving into the plasma. In the last one, electron cavitation occurs and the penetration is possible over a finite length only. A kinetic extension is made in this paper using Vlasov-Maxwell simulations. Vlasov simulations revealed a rich variety of new phenomena associated with the trapped particle dynamics, which cannot be described in fluid models. Most notably is the observation, during the penetration phase of the pump electromagnetic wave, of a beat-wave heating scenario induced by the Doppler shift on the reflected wave at the (moving) wave front. This beat-wave generates low-frequency acoustic-like electron modes characterized by coherent trapping-type structures in phase space leading to an efficient (nonstochastic) heating process.
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A. Ghizzo, D. del Sarto, T. Reveille, N. Besse, R. Klein. Self-induced transparency scenario revisited via beat-wave heating induced by Doppler shift in overdense plasma layer. Physics of Plasmas, American Institute of Physics, 2007, 14 (6), pp.062702. ⟨10.1063/1.2735123⟩. ⟨hal-01804607⟩

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