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The interplay of the collisionless non-linear thin-shell instability with the ion acoustic instability

Abstract : The non-linear thin-shell instability (NTSI) may explain some of the turbulent hydrodynamic structures that are observed close to the collision boundary of energetic astrophysical outflows. It develops in non-planar shells that are bounded on either side by a hydrodynamic shock, provided that the amplitude of the seed oscillations is sufficiently large. The hydrodynamic NTSI has a microscopic counterpart in collisionless plasma. A sinusoidal displacement of a thin shell, which is formed by the collision of two clouds of unmagnetized electrons and protons, grows and saturates on time-scales of the order of the inverse proton plasma frequency. Here we increase the wavelength of the seed perturbation by a factor of 4 compared to that in a previous study. Like in the case of the hydrodynamic NTSI, the increase in the wavelength reduces the growth rate of the microscopic NTSI. The prolonged growth time of the microscopic NTSI allows the waves, which are driven by the competing ion acoustic instability, to grow to a large amplitude before the NTSI saturates and they disrupt the latter. The ion acoustic instability thus imposes a limit on the largest wavelength that can be destabilized by the NTSI in collisionless plasma. The limit can be overcome by binary collisions. We bring forward evidence for an overstability of the collisionless NTSI.
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Submitted on : Friday, July 1, 2022 - 7:59:42 AM
Last modification on : Friday, July 1, 2022 - 7:59:43 AM

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M. E. Dieckmann, D. Folini, R. Walder. The interplay of the collisionless non-linear thin-shell instability with the ion acoustic instability. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 2017, 465, pp.4240-4248. ⟨10.1093/mnras/stw3014⟩. ⟨insu-03710627⟩

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