Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Cosmic Jets of Young Stars Formed by Magnetic Fields

17.10.2014

Astrophysical jets are counted among our Universe’s most spectacular phenomena: From the centers of black holes, quasars, or protostars, these rays of matter sometimes protrude several light years into space.

Now, for the first time ever, an international team of researchers has successfully tested a new model that explains how magnetic fields form these emissions in young stars. Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) were part of this research. Their findings have been published in the journal Science. The insights gleaned from this research may even apply to cancer therapy.


An artist's rendering showing the birth of a star: A dust and gas cloud is forming a spiraling disk around a massive baby star while jets of material shoot from its core.

ESO/L. Calada

Whenever an object in space forms a rotating disc of matter, chances are that it gives rise to a “jet” – a thin, straight emission of matter which emanates from the disc’s center and that looks like a spintop. These structures can be observed especially during the formation of new stars. But understanding how such thin beams are able to form within the disc is something that continues to elude scientists.

Now, HZDR researchers, along with their European, American, and Asian colleagues, have investigated this process in the lab. At LULI – the Laboratoire pour l'Utilisation des Lasers Intenses – in France, scientists hit a plastic sample with laser light which set the electrons at the target’s core in motion, transforming the solid plastic object into conductive plasma.

“Think of it as a sort of rapidly expanding hot cloud of electrons and ions. On a small scale, the plasma represents a young star’s accumulation of matter,” explains Professor Thomas Cowan, the study’s co-author and Director of the HZDR Institute of Radiation Physics.

Miniature versions of young stars for the lab

What made the experiment special was the fact that the plasma was exposed to a very powerful pulsed magnetic field. The idea behind it: under a magnetic field’s influence, the normally widely scattered plasma begins to focus, forming a hollow center. This ultimately produces a shockwave, from which a very thin beam starts to project – a jet.

The experiment was set up in such a way as to allow for extrapolation to conditions as they would be encountered in the Universe: within as little as 20 nanoseconds – over 100,000 times faster than a fly flapping its wings – the lab plasma forms structures similar to a young star’s jet in approximately six years. This allowed the researchers to test their model with astronomical observations, which were made possible through space telescopes, in the last two decades. The data were in good agreement.

In a jet, for instance, a crossing over of particle streams can occur, which in turn results in the formation of very hot spots. “X-ray measurements of actual jets show these features at the exact same points as our true-to-scale plasma model in the lab,” says Cowan. With its help, the researchers were able to offer a model that, for the first time ever, is capable of explaining the formation of jets solely by way of magnetic fields. Previous approaches had considered the rotation of matter about the young star another influencing factor.

The realization that plasma can be focused in this way may prove a real practical boon in the field of medical engineering. According to Cowan, it’s conceivable that with the help of pulsed magnetic fields, a particularly thin proton beam could be produced for use in radiation therapy. It’s what Florian Kroll, Ph.D. student at the HZDR and one of the study’s co-authors, is investigating.

Special pulse generator designed at the Dresden High Magnetic Field Lab

In order to produce strong pulsed magnetic fields for the experiment, the researchers drew on the expertise at the HZDR’s Dresden High Magnetic Field Lab: “We developed a special pulse generator which allowed our French colleagues to set up powerful magnetic fields within a small, enclosed lab space,” says Dr. Thomas Herrmannsdörfer, head of division at the High Magnetic Field Lab. The generator – just about the size of a wardrobe – is capable of generating currents of up to 300 kiloampere.

According to Herrmannsdörfer, building such a compact facility was a real technical challenge: “Our electrical engineers came up with some very innovative solutions. This is also helping us now with developing these types of generators for application in industry and medical technology.” Currently, the pulse generator is still located at the French laser lab at Palaiseau near Paris, because beginning in December the Dresden scientists are planning on once again working together with their LULI colleagues.

Publication: B. Albertazzi et al. (2014). Laboratory formation of a scaled protostellar jet by coaligned poloidal magnetic field. Science, published online 17 October 2014. DOI: 10.1126/science.1259694

Further Information:
Prof. Dr. Thomas E. Cowan | Institute of Radiation Physics at HZDR
Phone: +49 351 260 - 2270 | Email: t.cowan@hzdr.de
Dr. Thomas Herrmannsdörfer | Dresden High Magnetic Field Laboratory at HZDR
Phone: +49 351 260 - 3320 | Email: t.herrmannsdoerfer@hzdr.de

Media Contact:
Christine Bohnet | Press Officer
Phone: +49 351 260 2450 | Mobile: +49 160 969 288 56 | c.bohnet@hzdr.de | www.hzdr.de
Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf | Bautzner Landstr. 400 | 01328 Dresden

The Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) conducts research in the sectors energy, health, and matter. It focuses its research on the following topics:
• How can energy and resources be used efficiently, safely, and sustainably?
• How can malignant tumors be visualized and characterized more precisely and treated effectively?
• How do matter and materials behave in strong fields and at the smallest dimensions?

To answer these scientific questions, several large-scale research facilities provide unique research opportunities. These facilities are also accessible to external users.
The HZDR has been a member of the Helmholtz Association, Germany’s largest research organization, since 2011. It has four locations in Dresden, Leipzig, Freiberg, and Grenoble and employs about 1,000 people – approx. 500 of whom are scientists including 150 doctoral candidates.

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.hzdr.de

Dr. Christine Bohnet | Helmholtz-Zentrum

Further reports about: Cosmic HZDR Helmholtz-Zentrum Magnetic formation magnetic field magnetic fields young stars

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy
24.03.2017 | University of Massachusetts at Amherst

nachricht Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core
24.03.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>