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Title: Modeling the Saturation of the Bell Instability Using Hybrid Simulations
The nonresonant cosmic ray instability, predicted by Bell (2004), is thought to play an important role in the acceleration and confinement of cosmic rays (CRs) close to supernova remnants. Despite its importance, the exact mechanism responsible for the saturation of the instability has not been determined, and there is no first-principle prediction for the amplitude of the saturated magnetic field. Using a survey of self-consistent kinetic hybrid simulations (with kinetic ions and fluid electrons), we study the saturation of the non-resonant streaming instability as a function of the parameters of both the thermal background plasma and the CR population. The strength of the saturated magnetic field has important implications for both CR acceleration in supernova remnants and CR diffusion in the Galaxy.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1714658
NSF-PAR ID:
10178657
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
ICRC2019
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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  1. null (Ed.)
    The nonresonant cosmic ray instability, predicted by Bell (2004), is thought to play an important role in the acceleration and confinement of cosmic rays (CR) close to supernova remnants. Despite its importance, the exact mechanism responsible for the saturation of the instability has not been determined, and there is no first-principle prediction for the amplitude of the saturated magnetic field. Using a survey of self-consistent hybrid simulations (with kinetic ions and fluid electrons), we study the non-linear evolution of the Bell instability as a function of the parameters of the CR population. We find that saturation is achieved when the magnetic pressure in the amplified field is comparable to the initial CR momentum flux. 
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  2. null (Ed.)
    Context. The spectrum of cosmic ray protons and electrons released by supernova remnants throughout their evolution is poorly known because of the difficulty in accounting for particle escape and confinement downstream of a shock front, where both adiabatic and radiative losses are present. Since electrons lose energy mainly through synchrotron losses, it is natural to ask whether the spectrum released into the interstellar medium may be different from that of their hadronic counterpart. Independent studies of cosmic ray transport through the Galaxy require that the source spectrum of electrons and protons be very different. Therefore, the above question acquires a phenomenological relevance. Aims. Here we calculate the spectrum of cosmic ray protons released during the evolution of supernovae of different types, accounting for the escape from the upstream region and for adiabatic losses of particles advected downstream of the shock and liberated at later times. The same calculation is carried out for electrons, where in addition to adiabatic losses we take the radiative losses suffered behind the shock into account. These electrons are dominated by synchrotron losses in the magnetic field, which most likely is self-generated by cosmic rays accelerated at the shock. Methods. We use standard temporal evolution relations for supernova shocks expanding in different types of interstellar media together with an analytic description of particle acceleration and magnetic field amplification to determine the density and spectrum of cosmic ray particles. Their evolution in time is derived by numerically solving the equation describing advection with adiabatic and radiative losses for electrons and protons. The flux from particles continuously escaping the supernova remnants is also accounted for. Results. The magnetic field in the post-shock region is calculated by using an analytic treatment of the magnetic field amplification due to nonresonant and resonant streaming instability and their saturation. The resulting field is compared with the available set of observational results concerning the dependence of the magnetic field strength upon shock velocity. We find that when the field is the result of the growth of the cosmic-ray-driven nonresonant instability alone, the spectrum of electrons and protons released by a supernova remnant are indeed different; however, such a difference becomes appreciable only at energies ≳100−1000 GeV, while observations of the electron spectrum require such a difference to be present at energies as low as ∼10 GeV. An effect at such low energies requires substantial magnetic field amplification in the late stages of supernova remnant evolution (shock velocity ≪1000 km s −1 ); this may not be due to streaming instability but rather hydrodynamical processes. We comment on the feasibility of such conditions and speculate on the possibility that the difference in spectral shape between electrons and protons may reflect either some unknown acceleration effect or additional energy losses in cocoons around the sources. 
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  3. Abstract

    The nonresonant streaming instability (Bell instability) plays a pivotal role in the acceleration and confinement of cosmic rays (CRs), yet the exact mechanism responsible for its saturation and the magnitude of the final amplified magnetic field have not been assessed from first principles. Using a survey of hybrid simulations (with kinetic ions and fluid electrons), we study the evolution of the Bell instability as a function of the parameters of the CR population. We find that at saturation, the magnetic pressure in the amplified field is comparable with the initial CR anisotropic pressure, rather than with the CR energy flux, as previously argued. These results provide a predictive prescription for the total magnetic field amplification expected in the many astrophysical environments where the Bell instability is important.

     
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  4. Abstract

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    Presented as a thesis to the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, The University of Chicago, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for a Ph.D. degree.

     
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