3-D Rpic Simulations of Relativistic Jets: Particle Acceleration, Magnetic Field Generation, and Emission

Astronomy and Astrophysics – Astrophysics

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Gamma-Ray Bursts, Relativistic Jets, Weibel Instability, Particle Acceleration, Magnetic Field Generation, Methods: Numerical, Particle-In-Cell Simulation

Scientific paper

We have applied numerical simulations and modeling to the particle acceleration, magnetic field generation, and emission from relativistic shocks. We investigate the nonlinear stage of theWeibel instability and compare our simulations with the observed gamma-ray burst emission. In collisionless shocks, plasma waves and their associated instabilities (e.g., the Weibel, Buneman and other two-stream instabilities) are responsible for particle (electron, positron, and ion) acceleration and magnetic field generation. 3-D relativistic electromagnetic particle (REMP) simulations with three different electron-positron jet velocity distributions and also with an electron-ion plasma have been performed and show shock processes including spatial and temporal evolution of shocks in unmagnetized ambient plasmas. The growth time and nonlinear saturation levels depend on the initial jet parallel velocity distributions. Simulations show that the Weibel instability created in the collisionless shocks accelerates jet and ambient particles both perpendicular and parallel to the jet propagation direction. The nonlinear fluctuation amplitude of densities, currents, electric, and magnetic fields in the electron-positron shocks are larger for smaller jet Lorentz factor. This comes from the fact that the growth time of the Weibel instability is proportional to the square of the jet Lorentz factor. We have performed simulations with broad Lorentz factor distribution of jet electrons and positrons, which is assumed to be created by photon annihilation. Simulation results with this broad distribution show that the Weibel instability is excited continuously by the wide-range of jet Lorentz factor from lower to higher values. In all simulations the Weibel instability is responsible for generating and amplifying magnetic fields perpendicular to the jet propagation direction, and contributes to the electron’s (positron’s) transverse deflection behind the jet head. This small scale magnetic field structure contributes to the generation of “jitter” radiation from deflected electrons (positrons), which is different from synchrotron radiation in uniform magnetic fields. The jitter radiation resulting from small scale magnetic field structures may be important for understanding the complex time structure and spectral evolution observed in gamma-ray bursts or other astrophysical sources containing relativistic jets and relativistic collisionless shocks. The detailed studies of shock microscopic process evolution may provide some insights into early and later GRB afterglows.

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