Theoretical and simulation studies of relativistic ion holes in astrophysical plasmas

B Eliasson, P K Shukla, M E Dieckmann

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14 Citations (Scopus)


Theoretical and numerical studies of relativistic ion holes in a relativistically hot electron–ion plasma are presented. Previous particle-in-cell (PIC) simulations have shown that the ion holes are formed as a result of relativistic beam-plasma instabilities in the foreshock region of internal shocks of gamma-ray bursts and the relativistic jets of active galactic nuclei. In this process, the electrons are heated to ultra-relativistic temperatures so that their relativistic mass becomes comparable to the proton mass, and relativistic ion holes are formed by a secondary ion beam instability. The electrostatic potentials associated with the ion holes are large enough to accelerate particles to GeV energies. We use a semi-analytical model to construct relativistic ion holes and investigate their stability by means of fully relativistic Vlasov simulations. This investigation is relevant for astrophysical settings where the ion holes may work as efficient particle accelerators.
Original languageEnglish
Article number55
Number of pages13
JournalNew Journal of Physics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 18 Apr 2006


  • ion holes
  • relativistic plasma
  • particle in cell simulations


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