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  • 1705.08162

    Rights statement: ©2017 American Physical Society.

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Experimental Observation of a Current-Driven Instability in a Neutral Electron-Positron Beam

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  • J. Warwick
  • T. Dzelzainis
  • M. E. Dieckmann
  • W. Schumaker
  • D. Doria
  • L. Romagnani
  • K. Poder
  • J. M. Cole
  • A. Alejo
  • M. Yeung
  • K. Krushelnick
  • S. P. D. Mangles
  • Z. Najmudin
  • B. Reville
  • G. M. Samarin
  • D. D. Symes
  • A. G. R. Thomas
  • M. Borghesi
  • G. Sarri
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Article number185002
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>3/11/2017
<mark>Journal</mark>Physical Review Letters
Issue number18
Volume119
Number of pages5
StatePublished
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

We report on the first experimental observation of a current-driven instability developing in a quasineutral matter-antimatter beam. Strong magnetic fields (>= 1 T) are measured, via means of a proton radiography technique, after the propagation of a neutral electron-positron beam through a background electron-ion plasma. The experimentally determined equipartition parameter of epsilon(B) approximate to 10(-3) is typical of values inferred from models of astrophysical gamma-ray bursts, in which the relativistic flows are also expected to be pair dominated. The data, supported by particle-in-cell simulations and simple analytical estimates, indicate that these magnetic fields persist in the background plasma for thousands of inverse plasma frequencies. The existence of such long-lived magnetic fields can be related to analog astrophysical systems, such as those prevalent in lepton-dominated jets.

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©2017 American Physical Society.