Effect of a weak ion collisionality on the dynamics of kinetic electrostatic shocks
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2019
In strictly collisionless electrostatic shocks, the ion distribution function can develop discontinuities along phase-space separatrices, due to partial reflection of the ion population. In this paper, we depart from the strictly collisionless regime and present a semi-analytical model for weakly collisional kinetic shocks. The model is used to study the effect of small but finite collisionalities on electrostatic shocks, and they are found to smooth out these discontinuities into growing boundary layers. More importantly, ions diffuse into and accumulate in the previously empty regions of phase space, and, by upsetting the charge balance, lead to growing downstream oscillations of the electrostatic potential. We find that the collisional age of the shock is the more relevant measure of the collisional effects than the collisionality, where the former can become significant during the lifetime of the shock, even for weak collisionalities.
plasma nonlinear phenomena