MAGNETIC FIELD EVOLUTION IN RELATIVISTIC UNMAGNETIZED COLLISIONLESS SHOCKS Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • We study relativistic unmagnetized collisionless shocks using unprecedentedly large particle-in-cell simulations of two-dimensional pair plasma. High energy particles accelerated by the shock are found to drive magnetic field evolution on a timescale >10^4 plasma times. Progressively stronger magnetic fields are generated on larger scales in a growing region around the shock. Shock-generated magnetic fields and accelerated particles carry >1% and >10% of the downstream energy flux, respectively. Our results suggest limits on the magnetization of relativistic astrophysical flows. Comment: ApJ Letters, published (minor corrections, results unchanged)

publication date

  • February 1, 2009