Heat flux effects on magnetic field dynamics in solid density plasmas traversed by relativistic electron beams

B E R Williams, R J Kingham, J J Bissell

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Relativistic electron beam propagation through solid density plasma is a rich area for magnetic field dynamics. It is well known that Ohmic heating of the background plasma caused by the beam significantly affects magnetic field generation, primarily through changes in the resistivity. In particular, temperature changes in the background plasma leads to the generation of a magnetic field that acts to deflect relativistic electrons from the beam axis. This 'beam hollowing' field could have disastrous implications for the fast ignitor scheme.

In this paper, the effects of background heat flow on magnetic field generation are considered, first with a simple analytic investigation, and then with 1D Vlasov Fokker–Planck and classical transport simulations using a rigid beam for the fast electrons. It is shown that the thermal conduction of the background plasma acts to diffuse the temperature, reducing both the temperature gradients and the beam hollowing field. This gives rise to the re-emergence of a collimating magnetic field. The influence of the background heat flux is also investigated in the context of solids with imposed resistivity gradients, and is shown to significantly enhance the magnetic field present. More exotic transport effects, such as an enhanced Nernst velocity (due to non-local heat flux) and double peaked temperature profiles (due to distortion of the heating and heat-flow profiles by the magnetic field), are also reported.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)095005
JournalPlasma Physics and Controlled Fusion
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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