EDP Sciences
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Volume 440, Number 1, September II 2005
Page(s) 199 - 205
Section Stellar structure and evolution
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20042098

A&A 440, 199-205 (2005)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20042098

Protoneutron star dynamos and pulsar magnetism

A. Bonanno1, 2, V. Urpin3, 4 and G. Belvedere1

1  INAF - Osservatorio Astrofisico di Catania, via S. Sofia 78, 95123 Catania, Italy
    e-mail: alfio@ct.astro.it
2  INFN, Sezione di Catania, via S. Sofia 72, 95123 Catania, Italy
3  A.F. Ioffe Institute of Physics and Technology, St. Petersburg, Russia
4  Isaac Newton Institute of Chile, Branch in St. Petersburg, 194021 St. Petersburg, Russia

(Received 30 September 2004 / Accepted 26 March 2005 )

We have investigated the turbulent mean-field dynamo action in protoneutron stars that are subject to convective and neutron finger instabilities during the early evolutionary phase. While the first one develops mostly in the inner regions of the star, the second one is favored in the outer regions, where the Rossby number is much smaller and a mean-field dynamo action is more efficient. By solving the mean-field induction equation we have computed the critical spin period below which no dynamo action is possible and found it to be ~1 s for a wide range of stellar models and for both axisymmetric and non-axisymmetric magnetic fields. Because this critical period is substantially longer than the characteristic spin period of very young pulsars, we expect that a mean-field dynamo will be effective for most protoneutron stars. The saturation dipole field estimated by making use of the model of "global" quenching fits well the pulsar magnetic fields inferred from the spin-down data. Apart from the large-scale magnetic field, our model also predicts a generation of small-scale fields which are typically stronger than the poloidal field and can survive during the lifetime of pulsars. Extremely rapidly rotating protoneutron stars ($P \sim 1$ ms) may have a dipole field ~(3-6) $\times$ 1014 G.

Key words: magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) -- pulsars: general -- stars: neutron -- stars: magnetic fields

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