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Astrophysical particle acceleration mechanisms in colliding magnetized laser-produced plasmas

Author(s): Fox, W; Park, J; Deng, W; Fiksel, G; Spitkovsky, Anatoly; et al

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Abstract: Significant particle energization is observed to occur in numerous astrophysical environments, and in the standard models, this acceleration occurs alongside energy conversion processes including collisionless shocks or magnetic reconnection. Recent platforms for laboratory experiments using magnetized laser-produced plasmas have opened opportunities to study these particle acceleration processes in the laboratory. Through fully kinetic particle-in-cell simulations, we investigate acceleration mechanisms in experiments with colliding magnetized laser-produced plasmas, with geometry and parameters matched to recent high-Mach number reconnection experiments with externally controlled magnetic fields. 2-D simulations demonstrate significant particle acceleration with three phases of energization: first, a “direct” Fermi acceleration driven by approaching magnetized plumes; second, x-line acceleration during magnetic reconnection of anti-parallel fields; and finally, an additional Fermi energization of particles trapped in contracting and relaxing magnetic islands produced by reconnection. The relative effectiveness of these mechanisms depends on plasma and magnetic field parameters of the experiments.
Publication Date: 11-Aug-2017
Electronic Publication Date: Sep-2017
Citation: Fox, W, Park, J, Deng, W, Fiksel, G, Spitkovsky, A, Bhattacharjee, A. (2017). Astrophysical particle acceleration mechanisms in colliding magnetized laser-produced plasmas. Physics of Plasmas, 24 (9), 092901 - 092901. doi:10.1063/1.4993204
DOI: doi:10.1063/1.4993204
ISSN: 1070-664X
EISSN: 1089-7674
Type of Material: Journal Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: Physics of Plasmas
Version: Final published version. Article is made available in OAR by the publisher's permission or policy.

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