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Multidimensional Simulations of Magnetic Field Amplification and Electron Acceleration to Near-Energy Equipartition With Ions by a Mildly Relativistic Quasi-Parallel Plasma Collision

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3 Author(s)
Gareth C. Murphy ; Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, Dublin 2, Ireland ; Mark E. Dieckmann ; L. O'C. Drury

The energetic electromagnetic eruptions observed during the prompt phase of gamma-ray bursts are attributed to synchrotron emissions. The internal shocks moving through the ultrarelativistic jet, which is ejected by an imploding supermassive star, are the likely source of this radiation. Synchrotron emissions at the observed strength require the simultaneous presence of powerful magnetic fields and highly relativistic electrons. We explore with 1-D and 3-D relativistic particle-in-cell simulations the transition layer of a shock, which evolves out of the collision of two plasma clouds at a speed 0.9c and in the presence of a quasi-parallel magnetic field. The cloud densities vary by a factor of 10. The number densities of ions and electrons in each cloud, which have the mass ratio 250, are equal. The peak Lorentz factor of the electrons is determined in the 1-D simulation, as well as the orientation and the strength of the magnetic field at the boundary of the two colliding clouds. The relativistic masses of the electrons and ions close to the shock transition layer are comparable as in previous work. The 3-D simulation shows rapid and strong plasma filamentation behind the transient precursor. The magnetic field component orthogonal to the initial field direction is amplified in both simulations to values that exceed those expected from the shock compression by over an order of magnitude. The forming shock is quasi-perpendicular due to this amplification. The simultaneous presence of highly relativistic electrons and strong magnetic fields will give rise to significant synchrotron emissions.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science  (Volume:38 ,  Issue: 10 )