H. Mao, K. Weichman, Z. Gong, T. Ditmire, H. Quevedo, and A. Arefiev, "Emission of electromagnetic waves as a stopping mechanism for nonlinear collisionless ionization waves in a high-β regime", Phys. Rev. E 103, 023209 (2021).
A high energy density plasma embedded in a neutral gas is able to launch an outward-propagating nonlinear electrostatic ionization wave that traps energetic electrons. The trapping maintains a strong sheath electric field, enabling rapid and long-lasting wave propagation aided by field ionization. Using 1D3V kinetic simulations, we examine the propagation of the ionization wave in the presence of a transverse MG-level magnetic field with the objective to identify qualitative changes in a regime where the initial thermal pressure of the plasma exceeds the pressure of the magnetic field (β>1). Our key finding is that the magnetic field stops the propagation by causing the energetic electrons sustaining the wave to lose their energy by emitting an electromagnetic wave. The emission is accompanied by the magnetic field expulsion from the plasma and an increased electron loss from the trapping wave structure. The described effect provides a mechanism mitigating rapid plasma expansion for those applications that involve an embedded plasma, such as high-flux neutron production from laser-irradiated deuterium gas jets.