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AT seminar Sept. 8, 2017 by Martin Pohl (DESY)

Turbulent magnetic-field amplification is an essential process in sources of high-energy particles. A nonresonant cosmic-ray-current-driven instability may operate in the shock precursors of young supernova remnants and be responsible for magnetic-field amplification, plasma heating and turbulence. Earlier simulations demonstrated magnetic-field amplification, and in kinetic studies a reduction of the relative drift between cosmic rays and thermal plasma was observed as backreaction. However, all published simulations used periodic boundary conditions, which do not account for mass conservation in decelerating flows and only allow the temporal development to be studied. Here we report results of fully kinetic Particle-In-Cell simulations with open boundaries that permit inflow of plasma on one side of the simulation box and outflow at the other end, hence allowing an investigation of both the temporal and the spatial development of the instability. 
Magnetic-field amplification proceeds as in studies with periodic boundaries and, observed here for the first time, the reduction of relative drifts causes the formation of a shock-like compression structure at which a fraction of the plasma ions are reflected. Turbulent electric field generated by the nonresonant instability inelastically scatters cosmic rays, modifying and  anisotropizing their energy distribution. The modifications in the plasma flow will affect the properties of the shock and particle acceleration there.

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