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Astrophysical Journal 645 (2006) L129-L132
On the efficiency of Fermi acceleration at relativistic shocks
M. Lemoine1, G. Pelletier2, Benoît Revenu3

It is shown that Fermi acceleration at an ultra-relativistic shock wave cannot operate on a particle for more than 1 1/2 Fermi cycle (i.e., u -> d -> u -> d) if the particle Larmor radius is much smaller than the coherence length of the magnetic field on both sides of the shock, as is usually assumed. This conclusion is shown to be in excellent agreement with recent numerical simulations. We thus argue that efficient Fermi acceleration at ultra-relativistic shock waves requires significant non-linear processing of the far upstream magnetic field with strong amplification of the small scale magnetic power. The streaming or transverse Weibel instabilities are likely to play a key role in this respect.
1 :  IAP - Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris
2 :  LAOG - Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Grenoble
3 :  SUBATECH - Laboratoire SUBATECH Nantes
Physique/Astrophysique/Cosmologie et astrophysique extra-galactique

Planète et Univers/Astrophysique
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