PIC simulation of a thermal anisotropy-driven Weibel instability in a circular rarefaction wave

M. E. Dieckmann, Gianluca Sarri, G. C. Murphy, A. Bret, L. Romagnani, I. Kourakis, M. Borghesi, A. Ynnerman, L. O'C Drury

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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 environments, which are needed to explain the electromagnetic emissions by astrophysical jets. It is outlined how this instability could be examined experimentally.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

Original languageEnglish
Article number023007
Pages (from-to)-
Number of pages18
JournalNew Journal of Physics
Publication statusPublished - 02 Feb 2012

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