3D PIC simulations of the Weibel instability and the nonlinear structure of the self-generated magnetic field

Physics – Plasma Physics

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Scientific paper

The Weibel instability is a general mechanism for the transference of the free energy of the charged particles to the electromagnetic field. Innumerous astrophysical scenarios show evidence of the presence of electron-positron plasmas and recent work pointed out that the electron-positron/ion Weibel instability could play a crucial role in the relativistic fireball model for gamma-ray bursters. We present here three-dimensional numerical studies of the collision of electron-positron plasma shells in the center of mass reference frame. During the nonlinear stage of the instability strong filamentation occurs and most of the kinetic energy is transferred into the magnetic field. After saturation, a slow heating of the particles is observed, leading to a supra-thermal tail in the distribution. Detailed analysis of the resulting magnetic field is presented, with special emphasis on the short and long time evolution and the k-spectra distribution. We also discuss the synchrotron radiation spectra and possible signatures for this mechanism. Work supported by FCT (Portugal).

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