Relativistic parsec–scale jets: I. Particle acceleration
P. N. Lebedev Physical Institute, Leninsky Prospect 53, Moscow 117924, Russia
2 Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14627, USA e-mail: email@example.com
Corresponding author: Ya. N. Istomin, firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 25 February 2003
We develop a theory of particle acceleration inside relativistic rotating electron-positron force–free jets with spiral magnetic fields. We considered perturbation of the stationary magnetic field structure and found that acceleration takes place in the regions where the Alfvén resonant condition with the eigenmodes in the jet is fulfilled, i.e. where the local Alfvén speed is equal to the phase speed of an eigenmode. The acceleration mechanism is regular acceleration by the electric field of the electromagnetic wave, which is the eigenmode of the force–free cylindrical jet: particles drift out of the region of the large wave amplitude near the Alfvén resonant surface and gain energy. Acceleration in the strong electric field near the Alfvén resonance and synchrotron losses combine to form a power-law energy spectrum of ultra-relativistic electrons and positrons with index between 2 and 3 depending upon the initial energy of the injected particles. The power law distribution ranges from ~ to ~.
Key words: acceleration of particles / magnetic fields / plasmas / galaxies: jets
© ESO, 2003