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(IF/P-02) Sausage Instabilities in Electron Current Channels and the Problem of Fast Ignition

A. Das1), N. Jain1), P. Kaw1), S. Sengupta1)
1) Institute for Plasma Research, Gandhinagar, India

Abstract.  In the fast ignition concept of laser fusion, an intense picosecond laser pulse incident on an overdense pellet is absorbed by nonlinear mechanisms and gets converted into inward propagating fast electron currents. PIC simulations show that the return shielding currents due to cold plasma interact with the incoming currents and intense Weibel, tearing and coalescence instabilities take place, which organize the current into a few current channels. The stability of these current channels is thus a topic of great interest. We have carried out linear and nonlinear studies of 2 - dimensional sausage instabilities of a slab model of the current channels in the framework of electron magnetohydrodynamic fluid approximation. The analytic calculations and numerical simulations for some simple velocity profiles show the presence of linear instability driven by velocity shear. Nonlinear studies on the saturation of instabilities and their reaction back on the relaxation of the velocity profile have also been made. A discussion of the consequences of such EMHD turbulence induced relaxation and stopping of fast electrons, for the fast ignition concept will be presented.

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IAEA 2003