T. Kiefer,
T. Schlegel,
and M.C. Kaluza

Phys. Rev. E,

**Plasma expansion into vacuum assuming a steplike electron energy distribution**Phys. Rev. E,

**87**:043110 (April 2013)## Abstract:

The expansion of a semi-infinite plasma slab into vacuum is analyzed with a hydrodynamic model implying a steplike electron energy distribution function. Analytic expressions for the maximum ion energy and the related ion distribution function are derived and compared with one-dimensional numerical simulations. The choice of the specific non-Maxwellian initial electron energy distribution automatically ensures the conservation of the total energy of the system. The estimated ion energies may differ by an order of magnitude from the values obtained with an adiabatic expansion model supposing a Maxwellian electron distribution. Furthermore, good agreement with data from experiments using laser pulses of ultrashort durations τ_L ≤ 80 fs is found, while this is not the case when a hot Maxwellian electron distribution is assumed.