Indexed on: 04 Oct '03Published on: 04 Oct '03Published in: Physical review. E, Statistical, nonlinear, and soft matter physics
Interactions of swift molecular ions with high-density plasma targets are studied by means of the linearized Vlasov-Poisson theory, allowing the dynamically screened interaction potential among the constituent ions to be expressed in terms of the classical plasma dielectric function. Coulomb explosions and the energy losses of a molecular ion are simulated by solving the equations of motion for the constituent ions. It is found that, due to the wakelike asymmetry of the interaction potential, the molecular axis tends to align itself along the beam direction. In addition, a strong enhancement of the energy loss of the molecular ion has been found in the initial stages of Coulomb explosions due to proximity of the constituent ions, but this effect diminishes at latter stages when the ions are sufficiently far apart.