Small-scale dynamo at low magnetic Prandtl numbers

Schober, Jennifer; Schleicher, Dominik; Bovino, Stefano; Klessen, Ralf S.


The present-day Universe is highly magnetized, even though the first magnetic seed fields were most probably extremely weak. To explain the growth of the magnetic field strength over many orders of magnitude, fast amplification processes need to operate. The most efficient mechanism known today is the small-scale dynamo, which converts turbulent kinetic energy into magnetic energy leading to an exponential growth of the magnetic field. The efficiency of the dynamo depends on the type of turbulence indicated by the slope of the turbulence spectrum v({\ell}){\prop}{\ell}$^{ϑ}$, where v({\ell}) is the eddy velocity at a scale {\ell}. We explore turbulent spectra ranging from incompressible Kolmogorov turbulence with {\thetav}=1/3 to highly compressible Burgers turbulence with {\thetav}=1/2. In this work, we analyze the properties of the small-scale dynamo for low magnetic Prandtl numbers Pm, which denotes the ratio of the magnetic Reynolds number, Rm, to the hydrodynamical one, Re. We solve the Kazantsev equation, which describes the evolution of the small-scale magnetic field, using the WKB approximation. In the limit of low magnetic Prandtl numbers, the growth rate is proportional to Rm$^{(1-ϑ)/(1+ϑ)}$. We furthermore discuss the critical magnetic Reynolds number Rm$_{crit}$, which is required for small-scale dynamo action. The value of Rm$_{crit}$ is roughly 100 for Kolmogorov turbulence and 2700 for Burgers. Furthermore, we discuss that Rm$_{crit}$ provides a stronger constraint in the limit of low Pm than it does for large Pm. We conclude that the small-scale dynamo can operate in the regime of low magnetic Prandtl numbers if the magnetic Reynolds number is large enough. Thus, the magnetic field amplification on small scales can take place in a broad range of physical environments and amplify week magnetic seed fields on short time scales.

Más información

Título de la Revista: PHYSICAL REVIEW E
Volumen: 86
Número: 6
Editorial: American Physical Society
Fecha de publicación: 2012


Notas: ISI