Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Elimination of numerical Cherenkov instability in flowing-plasma particle-in-cell simulations by using Galilean coordinates
- Author(s): Lehe, R
- Kirchen, M
- Godfrey, BB
- Maier, AR
- Vay, JL
- et al.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevE.94.053305
© 2016 American Physical Society. Particle-in-cell (PIC) simulations of relativistic flowing plasmas are of key interest to several fields of physics (including, e.g., laser-wakefield acceleration, when viewed in a Lorentz-boosted frame) but remain sometimes infeasible due to the well-known numerical Cherenkov instability (NCI). In this article, we show that, for a plasma drifting at a uniform relativistic velocity, the NCI can be eliminated by simply integrating the PIC equations in Galilean coordinates that follow the plasma (also sometimes known as comoving coordinates) within a spectral analytical framework. The elimination of the NCI is verified empirically and confirmed by a theoretical analysis of the instability. Moreover, it is shown that this method is applicable both to Cartesian geometry and to cylindrical geometry with azimuthal Fourier decomposition.