Fast correlation heating in moderately coupled electron-ion plasmas

Thomas E. Foster, Henry Fetsch, Nathaniel J. Fisch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


If the electrons in a plasma are suddenly heated, the resulting change in Debye shielding causes the ion kinetic energy to quickly increase. For the first time, this correlation heating, which is much faster than collisional energy exchange, is rigorously derived for a moderately coupled, electron-ion plasma. The electron-ion mass ratio is taken to be the smallest parameter in the Bogoliubov-Born-Green-Kirkwood-Yvon hierarchy, smaller even than the reciprocal of the plasma parameter. This ordering differs from conventional kinetic theory by making the electron collision rates faster than the ion plasma frequency, which allows stronger coupling and makes the ion heating a function only of the total energy supplied to the electrons. The calculation uses known formulae for correlations in a two-temperature plasma, for which a new, elementary derivation is presented. Suprathermal ions may be created more rapidly by this mechanism than by ion-electron Coulomb collisions. This means that the use of a femtosecond laser pulse could potentially help to achieve ignition in certain fast ignition approaches to inertial confinement fusion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number905890506
JournalJournal of Plasma Physics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 23 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics


  • fusion plasma
  • plasma dynamics
  • strongly coupled plasmas


Dive into the research topics of 'Fast correlation heating in moderately coupled electron-ion plasmas'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this