Magnetic helicity in astrophysical dynamos
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
The broad variety of ways in which magnetic helicity affects astrophysical systems, in particular dynamos, is discussed.
The so-called alpha effect is responsible for the growth of large-scale magnetic fields. The conservation of magnetic helicity, however, quenches the alpha effect, in particular for high magnetic Reynolds numbers. Predictions from mean-field theories state particular power law behavior of the saturation strength of the mean fields, which we confirm in direct numerical simulations. The loss of magnetic helicity in the form of fluxes can alleviate the quenching effect, which means that large-scale dynamo action is regained. Physically speaking, galactic winds or coronal mass ejections can have fundamental effects on the amplification of galactic and solar magnetic fields.
The gauge dependence of magnetic helicity is shown to play no effect in the steady state where the fluxes are represented in form of gauge-independent quantities. This we demonstrate in the Weyl-, resistive- and pseudo Lorentz-gauge. Magnetic helicity transport, however, is strongly affected by the gauge choice. For instance the advecto-resistive gauge is more efficient in transporting magnetic helicity into small scales, which results in a distinct spectrum compared to the resistive gauge.
The topological interpretation of helicity as linking of field lines is tested with respect to the realizability condition, which imposes a lower bound for the spectral magnetic energy in presence of magnetic helicity. It turns out that the actual linking does not affect the relaxation process, unlike the magnetic helicity content. Since magnetic helicity is not the only topological variable, I conduct a search for possible others, in particular for non-helical structures. From this search I conclude that helicity is most of the time the dominant restriction in field line relaxation. Nevertheless, not all numerical relaxation experiments can be described by the conservation of magnetic helicity alone, which allows for speculations about possible higher order topological invariants.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Astronomy, Stockholm University , 2012. , 64 p.
Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology
Research subject Astronomy
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-81601ISBN: 978-91-7447-593-7OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-81601DiVA: diva2:562767
2012-12-07, FD5, AlbaNova universitetscentrum, Roslagstullsbacken 21, Stockholm, 13:15 (English)
Ricca, Renzo, Professor
Brandenburg, Axel, Professor
At the time of the doctoral defense, the following paper was unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 1: Submitted. 2012-11-152012-10-252012-10-29Bibliographically approved
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