Instability induced by recollimation in highly magnetized outflows

E. Sobacchi, Y. E. Lyubarsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


In the paradigm of magnetic acceleration of relativistic outflows, a crucial point is identifying a viable mechanism to convert the Poynting flux into the kinetic energy of the plasma, and eventually into the observed radiation. Since the plasma is hardly accelerated beyond equipartition, MHD instabilities are often invoked to explain the dissipation of the magnetic energy. Motivated by the fast variability that is shown by the gamma-ray flares of both active galactic nuclei and pulsar wind nebulae, different authors have proposed the Poynting flux to be dissipated in a region where the flow is converging. Here, we perform a linear stability analysis of ultra-relativistic, highly magnetized outflows with such a recollimation nozzle, showing that MHD instabilities are indeed induced by the convergence of the flow. The amplitude of the perturbations increases while recollimation gets stronger, and eventually diverges when the flow is focused to a single point. Hence, depending on the geometry of the outflow, instabilities excited while the flow is converging may play an important role to dissipate the magnetic energy of the plasma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4948-4954
Number of pages7
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2018


  • MHD
  • galaxies: jets
  • gamma-ray burst: general
  • instabilities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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