Spreading of collimated particle beams within a generalized Fokker-Planck diffusion equation
Journal article, 2009
Recently, an expansion of the Boltzmann scattering operator describing the angular spreading of particle beams was given that included the effects of large angle scattering processes, thus generalizing the classical Fokker-Planck equation, valid in the limit of small angle scattering. The present work aims at making an analytical comparison between predictions based on the classical Fokker-Planck equation and those based on a generalized one, which includes a first-order correction term in the expansion of the Boltzmann scattering operator. The analysis is carried out for thin slabs where backscattering effects can be neglected and makes use of a moment approach, which leads to an infinite system of recursively coupled ordinary differential equations. The system is truncated in a consistent manner, and the effects of large angle scattering on the evolution of the moments are determined in explicit analytical form. An approximate similarity solution of the generalized Fokker-Planck equation is also found, and the results of both approaches provide a clear picture of the increased diffusive beam spreading due to large angle scattering. A comparison with previously published Monte Carlo simulation results shows good agreement.