8th HEAD Meeting, 8-11 September, 2004
Session 18 Gamma-ray Bursts
Poster, Thursday, September 9, 2004, 9:00am-10:00pm

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[18.02] Particle Acceleration, Magnetic Field Generation, and Emission in Relativistic Shocks

K.-I. Nishikawa (NSSTC), C. Hededal (Niels Bohr Inst., Dept of Astrophysics), P. Hardee (Univ. of Alabama, Tuscaloosa), G. Richardson (NSSTC), R. Preece (UAH, NSSTC), H. Sol (Observatore de Paris-Meudon), G. Fishman (MSFC/NASA)

Shock acceleration is an ubiquitous phenomenon in astrophysical plasmas. Plasma waves and their associated instabilities (e.g., the Buneman instability, two-streaming instability, and the Weibel instability) created in the shocks are responsible for particle (electron, positron, and ion) acceleration. Using a 3-D relativistic electromagnetic particle (REMP) code, we have investigated particle acceleration associated with a relativistic jet front propagating through an ambient plasma with and without initial magnetic fields. We find only small differences in the results between no ambient and weak ambient parallel magnetic fields. Simulations show that the Weibel instability created in the collisionless shock front accelerates particles perpendicular and parallel to the jet propagation direction.

New simulations with an ambient perpendicular magnetic field show the strong interaction between the relativistic jet and the magnetic fields. The magnetic fields are piled up by the jet and the jet electrons are bent, which creates currents and displacement currents. At the nonlinear stage, the magnetic fields are reversed by the current and the reconnection may take place. Due to these dynamics the jet and ambient electron are strongly accelerated in both parallel and perpendicular directions.

The simulation results show that this instability is responsible for generating and amplifying highly nonuniform, small-scale magnetic fields, which contribute to the electron's transverse deflection behind the jet head. The ``jitter'' radiation from deflected electrons has different properties than synchrotron radiation which is calculated in a uniform magnetic field. This jitter radiation may be important to understanding the complex time evolution and/or spectral structure in gamma-ray bursts, relativistic jets, and supernova remnants.

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://gammaray.nsstc.nasa.gov/~nishikawa. This link was provided by the author. When you follow it, you will leave the Web site for this meeting; to return, you should use the Back comand on your browser.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: ken-ichi.nishikawa@nsstc.nasa.gov

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