Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Research Collaboration on Plasma Astrophysics between St John’s College Oxford and UCD

18.10.2006
A major collaborative research project that will address fundamental astrophysical questions has started between The Research Centre, St John’s College Oxford and UCD’s School of Mathematical Sciences.

Researchers led by Dr Katherine Blundell and Professor James Binney FRS in Oxford and Dr Peter Duffy in Dublin, will work towards understanding the role played by magnetised turbulence in the transport and acceleration of highly energetic particles in quasars and microquasars.

The theoretical and computational models developed in UCD and Oxford will then be compared with the data gleaned from the astronomical observations. The result will be numerical codes and visualisation software to simulate transport in the turbulent magnetic fields along relativistic jets and the resulting radiative transfer.

“The dynamics of jet formation clearly involve both gravity and electromagnetism, but the similarities between jets in systems with radically different scales suggests that the underlying physics is simple”, said Dr Blundell. “It is nevertheless far from understood. We propose to advance our understanding of that physics by combining developments in plasma physics with state-of-the-art radio and X-ray observations of both microquasars and radio galaxies.”

A unique feature of this project will be its interdisciplinary nature; drawing on the fields of observational astronomy, theoretical physics, computational science and developments in transport theory for terrestrial, nuclear fusion plasmas.

The UCD team will concentrate on theoretical work on the microphysics scale, using a combination of analytical calculations and large-scale simulations to explore the mechanisms by which charged particles are accelerated and then transported within radio sources.

The Oxford team will concentrate on observations and modelling on the macro-scale. Firstly, reducing and interpreting the data obtained through an observational programme using cutting-edge facilities to observe key sources at a range of frequencies in radio and X-rays. Secondly, combining the observable consequences of the microphysics studied in Dublin with models of the gross structure of the observed sources to produce predictions for what should be actually observed, at both radio wavelengths and X-ray frequencies.

Radio and X-ray astronomy are key diagnostics in tracing energetic particles that are being transported by background magnetic fields in the regions, known as lobes, surrounding such galaxies. “It is imperative that we advance our understanding of the relevance and prevalence of transport mechanisms of charged particles responsible for the radiation within these jets and lobes, and not just within a very narrow regime in parameter space”, said Dr Duffy.

Dr Blundell, an expert in radio astronomy and plasma physics, published papers in 2000-2001 showing that a mechanism is needed to transport particles quickly in these lobes over vast distances in a turbulent magnetic field. Already familiar with Dr Duffy’s work at the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in the mid-nineties, addressing the transport of very fast particles in turbulent magnetic fields, Dr Blundell established contact with him in UCD and the collaboration began.

Realising that the research was also applicable to a second class of object known as microquasars - scaled down versions of quasars found within our own Milky Way Galaxy, Dr Duffy and Dr Blundell co-authored three papers in the Astrophysical Journal and Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion. In 2003-2004 they realised that a determined effort to solve these problems would require a large, inter-disciplinary team of researchers.

Dr Peter Duffy | alfa
Further information:
http://www.ucd.ie
http://mathsci.ucd.ie/cgi-bin/sms/frontpage.cgi

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Shape matters when light meets atom
05.12.2016 | Centre for Quantum Technologies at the National University of Singapore

nachricht Climate cycles may explain how running water carved Mars' surface features
02.12.2016 | Penn State

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: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

IHP presents the fastest silicon-based transistor in the world

05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

InLight study: insights into chemical processes using light

05.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

High-precision magnetic field sensing

05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>