Journal article

Particle-in-cell simulations of a nonlinear transverse electromagnetic wave in a pulsar wind termination shock

O Skjaeraasen, A Melatos, A Spitkovsky

Astrophysical Journal | IOP PUBLISHING LTD | Published : 2005


A 2.5-dimensional particle-in-cell code is used to investigate the propagation of a large-amplitude, superluminal, nearly transverse electromagnetic (TEM) wave in a relativistically streaming electron-positron plasma with and without a shock. In the free-streaming, unshocked case, the analytic TEM dispersion relation is verified, and the streaming is shown to stabilize the wave against parametric instabilities. In the confined, shocked case, the wave induces strong, coherent particle oscillations, heats the plasma, and modifies the shock density profile via ponderomotive effects. The wave decays over ≳10 skin depths; the decay length scale depends primarily on the ratio between the wave fre..

View full abstract

University of Melbourne Researchers