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 Further Improvement of Qubit Lifetime for Quantum Computers
09.12.2016 | Forschungszentrum Jülich

nachricht Electron highway inside crystal
09.12.2016 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

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: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

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...

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

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>