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On the applicability of the standard kinetic theory to the study of nanoplasmas

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

Article number082116
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2014
<mark>Journal</mark>Physics of Plasmas
Number of pages5
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Kinetic theory applies to systems with a large number of particles, while nanoplasma generated by the interaction of ultra–short laser pulses with atomic clusters are systems composed by a relatively small number (102 ÷ 104) of electrons and ions. In the paper, the applicability of the kinetic theory for studying nanoplasmas is discussed. In particular, two typical phenomena are investigated: the collisionless expansion of electrons in a spherical nanoplasma with immobile ions and the formation of shock shells during Coulomb explosions. The analysis, which is carried out comparing ensemble averages obtained by solving the exact equations of motion with reference solutions of the Vlasov-Poisson model, shows that for the dynamics of the electrons the error of the usually employed models is of the order of few percents (but the standard deviation in a single experiment can be of the order of 10%). Instead, special care must be taken in the study of shock formation, as the discrete structure of the electric charge can destroy or strongly modify the phenomenon.