Electron acceleration by magnetic collapse during decoupling

Bennet, E. D., Potts, H. E., Teodoro, L. F.A. and Diver, D. A. (2014) Electron acceleration by magnetic collapse during decoupling. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 445(2), pp. 1521-1525. (doi:10.1093/mnras/stu1857)

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Abstract

This paper identifies the non-equilibrium evolution of magnetic field structures at the onset of large-scale recombination of an inhomogeneously-ionised plasma. The context for this is the Universe during the epoch of recombination. The electromagnetic treatment of this phase transition can produce energetic electrons scattered throughout the Universe, localised near the edges of magnetic domains. This is confirmed by a numerical simulation in which a mag-netic domain is modelled as a uniform field region produced by a thin surrounding current sheet. Conduction currents sustaining the magnetic structure are removed as the charges com-prising them combine into neutrals. The induced electric field accompanying the magnetic collapse is able to accelerate ambient stationary electrons (that is, electrons not participating in the current sheet) to energies of up to order 10keV. This is consistent with theoretical pre-dictions. The localised electron acceleration leads to local imbalances of charge which has implications for charge separation in the early Universe.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Potts, Dr Hugh and Bennet, Dr Euan and Diver, Professor Declan and Teodoro, Dr Luis
Authors: Bennet, E. D., Potts, H. E., Teodoro, L. F.A., and Diver, D. A.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Physics and Astronomy
Journal Name:Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN:0035-8711
ISSN (Online):1365-296
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2014 The Authors
First Published:First published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 445(2):1521-1525
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
542081Rolling Programme in Solar and Plasma AstrophysicsLyndsay FletcherScience & Technologies Facilities Council (STFC)ST/I001808/1P&A - PHYSICS & ASTRONOMY