Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-10-2005

Publication Title

Letters of the Astrophysical Journal

Abstract

Ultrarelativistic electron-positron plasma shell collisions as an integral part of generic γ-ray burst (GRB) fireball models are studied in the framework of self-consistent three-dimensional particle-in-cell simulations. We compare scenarios at moderately relativistic (γ0 10) and ultrarelativistic (γ0 100) energies that directly correspond to the regimes of internal and external shell collisions, respectively, in GRB synchrotron emission models. Simulated systems comprise 5 × 108 particles, applying a relativistic, fully electromagnetic, massively parallelized code. It is found that Weibel-generated, steady state magnetic equipartition ratios in external collisions reach up to B ~ 12%, exceeding the respective internal ratios by nearly a power of 10. Enhanced B yields can be explained theoretically by the effective reduction of dimensionality in the ultrarelativistic limit, i.e., the energy-dependent confinement of the three-dimensional Weibel instability within quasi-two-dimensional plasma shell slices.

DOI

10.1086/426066

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