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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Accurate modeling of plasma acceleration with arbitrary order pseudo-spectral particle-in-cell methods

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Particle in Cell (PIC) simulations are a widely used tool for the investigation of both laser- and beam-driven plasma acceleration. It is a known issue that the beam quality can be artificially degraded by numerical Cherenkov radiation (NCR) resulting primarily from an incorrectly modeled dispersion relation. Pseudo-spectral solvers featuring infinite order stencils can strongly reduce NCR - or even suppress it - and are therefore well suited to correctly model the beam properties. For efficient parallelization of the PIC algorithm, however, localized solvers are inevitable. Arbitrary order pseudo-spectral methods provide this needed locality. Yet, these methods can again be prone to NCR. Here, we show that acceptably low solver orders are sufficient to correctly model the physics of interest, while allowing for parallel computation by domain decomposition.

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