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PIC simulation of a thermal anisotropy-driven Weibel instability in a circular rarefaction wave
Linköping University, Department of Science and Technology, Media and Information Technology. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology. (Scientific Visualization)
Centre for Plasma Physics, Queen's University Belfast, UK.
Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, Dublin, Ireland.
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.
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2012 (English)In: New Journal of Physics, ISSN 1367-2630, Vol. 14, no 023007Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The expansion of an initially unmagnetized planar rarefaction wave has recently been shown to trigger a thermal anisotropy-driven Weibel instability (TAWI), which can generate magnetic fields from noise levels. It is examined here whether the TAWI can also grow in a curved rarefaction wave. The expansion of an initially unmagnetized circular plasma cloud, which consists of protons and hot electrons, into a vacuum is modelled for this purpose with a two-dimensional particle-in-cell (PIC) simulation. It is shown that the momentum transfer from the electrons to the radially accelerating protons can indeed trigger a TAWI. Radial current channels form and the aperiodic growth of a magnetowave is observed, which has a magnetic field that is oriented orthogonal to the simulation plane. The induced electric field implies that the electron density gradient is no longer parallel to the electric field. Evidence is presented here that this electric field modification triggers a second magnetic instability, which results in a rotational low-frequency magnetowave. The relevance of the TAWI is discussed for the growth of small-scale magnetic fields in astrophysical environments, which are needed to explain the electromagnetic emissions by astrophysical jets. It is outlined how this instability could be examined experimentally.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
London: Institute of Physics (IOP), 2012. Vol. 14, no 023007
National Category
Natural Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-74685DOI: 10.1088/1367-2630/14/2/023007ISI: 000302303300004OAI: diva2:490234
LiU DNR 2010-00069
Swedish Research Council, 2010-4063
funding agencies|Vetenskapsradet| DNR 2010-4063 |EPSRC| EP/E035728/1 EP/C003586/1 EP/D043808/1 |Consejeria de Educacion y Ciencia| ENE2009-09276 |Junta de Comunidades de Castilla-La Mancha| PAI08-0182-3162 |SFI| 08/RFP/PHY1694 |HPC2N in Umea||ICHEC in Dublin||Available from: 2012-02-04 Created: 2012-02-04 Last updated: 2015-09-22

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