Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Strong Magnetic Fields Might Have Been Created Shortly after the Big Bang

09.09.2011
Astrophysicists demonstrate magnetic field amplification with three-dimensional computer simulations

Strong magnetic fields in the Universe apparently date back to the period shortly after the Big Bang.

This was recently demonstrated with the aid of three-dimensional computer simulations by an international team of researchers headed by Heidelberg astrophysicist Dr. Christoph Federrath at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Lyon (France) and the universities of Heidelberg, Hamburg and Göttingen. Their simulations show that magnetic fields are amplified by turbulent flows even under extreme physical conditions, suggesting that such fields may well have been created at an early stage in the formation of the Universe. The findings will be published in “Physical Review Letters” on 9 September 2011.

Both the gas between the stars of a galaxy and the matter between galaxies are magnetised. However, little is known so far about how these magnetic fields, which are observable by telescopes, actually came into existence. Now, the international research team has proposed an answer: the underlying mechanism is the amplification of initially weak magnetic fields by turbulent flows such as found in the interior of the Earth and the Sun. Previous studies have demonstrated that such turbulent flows even existed in the early Universe. “This turbulence makes magnetic fields grow exponentially”, says Dr. Federrath. “As our computer-based models have shown, such growth is possible even under the most unfavourable physical conditions, for example immediately after the Big Bang, when the first stars in the Universe were forming.”

In their work, the astrophysicists use three-dimensional computer simulations performed on more than 32,000 processors in parallel. They demonstrate how magnetic field lines are stretched, twisted and folded by turbulent flows. The energy required for these processes is extracted from the turbulence and converted into magnetic energy. Much as electricity generates a magnetic field through the motion of charge carriers, charges themselves are subject to a force when they move in a magnetic field. “The interaction between turbulent energy and magnetic field can amplify an initially weak magnetic field until it is so strong that it changes the dynamics of the turbulent flow that originally created it”, says Dr. Federrath, who works at Heidelberg University’s Institute of Theoretical Astrophysics. “This physical process resembles the generation of electromagnetic energy in a bicycle dynamo, which is why it is also referred to as ‘turbulent dynamo’.”

The scientists hope to learn more about the dynamic impact of magnetic fields and their role in the formation of the first stars and galaxies. „In particular, the presence of strong magnetic fields might be responsible for ejections of matter, so-called jets, from the first stars in the Universe", Dr. Federrath explains. Other researchers in the project besides Dr. Christoph Federrath include Prof. Dr. Gilles Chabrier (Lyon), Jennifer Schober (Heidelberg), Prof. Dr. Robi Banerjee (Hamburg), Prof. Dr. Ralf S. Klessen (Heidelberg) and Prof. Dr. Dominik R. G. Schleicher (Göttingen).

For more information, go to http://www.ita.uni-heidelberg.de/~chfeder/pubs/dynamo-prl/dynamo_prl.shtml

Original publication
C. Federrath, G. Chabrier, J. Schober, R. Banerjee, R. S. Klessen, and D. R. G. Schleicher. Mach Number Dependence of Turbulent Magnetic Field Amplification: Solenoidal versus Compressive Flows. Phys. Rev. Lett. 107, 114504 (2011), doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.107.114504
Contact
Dr. Christoph Federrath
Centre for Astronomy
Institute of Theoretical Astrophysics
Phone: +49 6221 54 4837
federrath@uni-heidelberg.de
Communications and Marketing
Press Office, phone +49 6221 54 2311
presse@rektorat.uni-heidelberg.de

Marietta Fuhrmann-Koch | idw
Further information:
http://www.uni-heidelberg.de
http://www.ita.uni-heidelberg.de/~chfeder/pubs/dynamo-prl/dynamo_prl.shtml

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht A better way to weigh millions of solitary stars
15.12.2017 | Vanderbilt University

nachricht A chip for environmental and health monitoring
15.12.2017 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

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: First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.

Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Engineers program tiny robots to move, think like insects

15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

One in 5 materials chemistry papers may be wrong, study suggests

15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences

New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists

15.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>