Particle Acceleration in Kink-unstable Jets

Jordy Davelaar, Alexander A. Philippov, Omer Bromberg, Chandra B. Singh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Magnetized jets in gamma-ray bursts and active galactic nuclei are thought to be efficient accelerators of particles; however, the process responsible for the acceleration is still a matter of active debate. In this work, we study the kink instability in non-rotating force-free jets using first-principle particle-in-cell simulations. We obtain similar overall evolution of the instability as found in magnetohydrodynamics simulations. The instability first generates large-scale current sheets, which at later times break up into small-scale turbulence. Reconnection in these sheets proceeds in the strong guide field regime, which results in a formation of steep power laws in the particle spectra. Later evolution shows heating of the plasma, which is driven by small-Amplitude turbulence induced by the kink instability. These two processes energize particles due to a combination of ideal and non-ideal electric fields.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberL31
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - 20 Jun 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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