Articles | Volume 31, issue 9
Regular paper
06 Sep 2013
Regular paper |  | 06 Sep 2013

Magnetic field generation in a jet-sheath plasma via the kinetic Kelvin-Helmholtz instability

K.-I. Nishikawa, P. Hardee, B. Zhang, I. Duţan, M. Medvedev, E. J. Choi, K. W. Min, J. Niemiec, Y. Mizuno, A. Nordlund, J. T. Frederiksen, H. Sol, M. Pohl, and D. H. Hartmann

Abstract. We have investigated the generation of magnetic fields associated with velocity shear between an unmagnetized relativistic jet and an unmagnetized sheath plasma. We have examined the strong magnetic fields generated by kinetic shear (Kelvin–Helmholtz) instabilities. Compared to the previous studies using counter-streaming performed by Alves et al. (2012), the structure of the kinetic Kelvin–Helmholtz instability (KKHI) of our jet-sheath configuration is slightly different, even for the global evolution of the strong transverse magnetic field. In our simulations the major components of growing modes are the electric field Ez, perpendicular to the flow boundary, and the magnetic field By, transverse to the flow direction. After the By component is excited, an induced electric field Ex, parallel to the flow direction, becomes significant. However, other field components remain small. We find that the structure and growth rate of KKHI with mass ratios mi/me = 1836 and mi/me = 20 are similar. In our simulations saturation in the nonlinear stage is not as clear as in counter-streaming cases. The growth rate for a mildly-relativistic jet case (γj = 1.5) is larger than for a relativistic jet case (γj = 15).