Self-organized electromagnetic field structures in laser-produced counter-streaming plasmas

N. L. Kugland, D. D. Ryutov, P. Y. Chang, R. P. Drake, G. Fiksel, D. H. Froula, S. H. Glenzer, G. Gregori, M. Grosskopf, M. Koenig, Y. Kuramitsu, C. Kuranz, M. C. Levy, E. Liang, J. Meinecke, F. Miniati, T. Morita, A. Pelka, C. Plechaty, R. PresuraA. Ravasio, B. A. Remington, B. Reville, J. S. Ross, Y. Sakawa, Anatoly Spitkovsky, H. Takabe, H. S. Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

90 Scopus citations

Abstract

Self-organization occurs in plasmas when energy progressively transfers from smaller to larger scales in an inverse cascade. Global structures that emerge from turbulent plasmas can be found in the laboratory and in astrophysical settings; for example, the cosmic magnetic field, collisionless shocks in supernova remnants and the internal structures of newly formed stars known as Herbig-Haro objects. Here we show that large, stable electromagnetic field structures can also arise within counter-streaming supersonic plasmas in the laboratory. These surprising structures, formed by a yet unexplained mechanism, are predominantly oriented transverse to the primary flow direction, extend for much larger distances than the intrinsic plasma spatial scales and persist for much longer than the plasma kinetic timescales. Our results challenge existing models of counter-streaming plasmas and can be used to better understand large-scale and long-time plasma self-organization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)809-812
Number of pages4
JournalNature Physics
Volume8
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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    Kugland, N. L., Ryutov, D. D., Chang, P. Y., Drake, R. P., Fiksel, G., Froula, D. H., Glenzer, S. H., Gregori, G., Grosskopf, M., Koenig, M., Kuramitsu, Y., Kuranz, C., Levy, M. C., Liang, E., Meinecke, J., Miniati, F., Morita, T., Pelka, A., Plechaty, C., ... Park, H. S. (2012). Self-organized electromagnetic field structures in laser-produced counter-streaming plasmas. Nature Physics, 8(11), 809-812. https://doi.org/10.1038/nphys2434