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Chapter 8:
Ultrafast Acceleration of Plasma Blocks by the Nonlinear Force
A radical novelty was experienced by Sauerbrey (1996) by measuring the Doppler shift of spectral lines in the reflected light from a 0.3-ps laser pulse above terawatt power irradiated on a target, resulting in an acceleration approximately 100,000 times higher than ever measured before in a laboratory. The generated macroscopic plasma blocks were the result of laser interaction. It was noted that this result was theoretically predicted and elaborated in numerical details, see Figs. 4.12 to 4.15, in 1978 (Hora et al. 1978; Hora 1981: p. 179) as nonlinear mechanisms tracing back to Kelvin’s ponderomotion (William Thomson 1845). After these initial steps, it was necessary to include magnetic fields and temporary variations of the fields as well as the dielectric response after being derived for plasmas for application by Maxwell’s stress tensor. A further task was to include ponderomotive (Hora 1969a) and relativistic (Hora 1975) self-focusing for modifying and generalizing the plane wave geometries. Furthermore, these developments needed an exclusion or essential reduction of thermodynamic and gas dynamic pressure effects that are usually dominant when interacting with laser pulses of the laser-plasma interaction that are usually a thousand times longer than a nanosecond, involving delays of electron and ion thermalization and equipartition processes, losses by radiation emission, and complications by instabilities. In contrast with these complications, the simplification of the physics is possible for picosecond pulses or shorter duration of laser pulses, when microscopic quantum processes are dominant even on the macroscopic scale. This simplification by the physics of the atoms was envisaged by Edward Teller, when he proposed that physics should first be taught fromthis side and then going to the macroscopic phenomena with the thermo-statistic chaos (Teller 2001) and complex phenomena, as analysed by Lord May (May 1972).When Teller askedNiels Bohr about his opinion on whether physics should be first taught with quantumdominated conditions, the answerwas it was better to teach macroscopic physics first.
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