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Published October 2018 | Accepted Version
Journal Article Open

Experiments relevant to astrophysical jets


This paper summarizes the results of an experimental program at Caltech wherein magnetohydrodynamically driven plasma jets are created and diagnosed. The theory modelling these jets, the main experimental results and their relevance to astrophysical jets are presented. The model explains how the jets are driven and why they self-collimate. Characteristic kink and Rayleigh–Taylor instabilities are shown to occur and the ramifications of these instabilities are discussed. Extending the experimental results to the astrophysical situation reveals a shortcoming in ideal magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) that must be remedied by replacing the ideal MHD Ohm's law by the generalized Ohm's law. It is shown that when the generalized Ohm's law is used and the consequences of weak ionization are taken into account, an accretion disk behaves much like the electrodes, mass source and power supply used in the experiment.

Additional Information

© Cambridge University Press 2018. (Received 31 January 2018; revised 29 June 2018; accepted 2 July 2018) Part of: Focus on Plasma Astrophysics. This material is based upon work supported by the US Department of Energy Office of Science, Office of Fusion Energy Sciences under award no. DE-FG02-04ER54755 as part of the NSF/DOE Partnership in Plasma Science. The data in figure 13 come from work supported by the US Department of Energy Advance Research Projects Agency – Energy under award no. DE-AR0000565.

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August 19, 2023
October 19, 2023