Theory of relativistic radiation reflection from plasmas
Journal article, 2018
We consider the reflection of relativistically strong radiation from plasma and identify the physical origin of the electrons' tendency to form a thin sheet, which maintains its localisation throughout its motion. Thereby, we justify the principle of relativistic electronic spring (RES) proposed in [Gonoskov et al., Phys. Rev. E 84, 046403 (2011)]. Using the RES principle, we derive a closed set of differential equations that describe the reflection of radiation with arbitrary variation of polarization and intensity from plasma with an arbitrary density profile for an arbitrary angle of incidence. We confirm with ab initio PIC simulations that the developed theory accurately describes laser-plasma interactions in the regime where the reflection of relativistically strong radiation is accompanied by significant, repeated relocation of plasma electrons. In particular, the theory can be applied for the studies of plasma heating and coherent and incoherent emissions in the RES regime of high-intensity laser-plasma interaction.