A new mechanism for dissipation of alternating fields in poynting-dominated outflows

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


Reconnection of alternating magnetic fields is an important energy transformation mechanism in Poyntingdominated outflows. We show that the reconnection is facilitated by the Kruskal-Schwarzschild instability of current sheets separating the oppositely directed fields. This instability, which is a magnetic counterpart of the Rayleigh-Taylor instability, develops if the flow is accelerated. Then the plasma drips out of the current sheet, providing conditions for rapid reconnection. Since the magnetic dissipation leads to the flow acceleration, the process is self-sustaining. In pulsar winds, this process could barely compete with the earlier proposed dissipation mechanisms. However, the novel mechanism turns out to be very efficient at active galactic nucleus and gamma-ray burst conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L234-L238
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number2 PART 2
StatePublished - 20 Dec 2010


  • Galaxies:jets
  • Gamma-ray burst:general
  • Instabilities
  • Magnetic reconnection
  • Magnetohydrodynamics (MHD)
  • Relativity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'A new mechanism for dissipation of alternating fields in poynting-dominated outflows'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this