Nonthermal radiation from supernova remnants: Effects of magnetic field amplification and particle escape

Hyesung Kang, T. W. Jones, Paul P. Edmon

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We explore nonlinear effects of wave-particle interactions on the diffusive shock acceleration (DSA) process in Type Ia-like supernova remnant (SNR) blast waves by implementing phenomenological models for magnetic field amplification (MFA), Alfvénic drift, and particle escape in time-dependent numerical simulations of nonlinear DSA. For typical SNR parameters, the cosmic-ray (CR) protons can be accelerated to PeV energies only if the region of amplified field ahead of the shock is extensive enough to contain the diffusion lengths of the particles of interest. Even with the help of Alfvénic drift, it remains somewhat challenging to construct a nonlinear DSA model for SNRs in which of the order of 10% of the supernova explosion energy is converted into CR energy and the magnetic field is amplified by a factor of 10 or so in the shock precursor, while, at the same time, the energy spectrum of PeV protons is steeper than E -2. To explore the influence of these physical effects on observed SNR emission, we also compute the resulting radio-to-gamma-ray spectra. Nonthermal emission spectra, especially in X-ray and gamma-ray bands, depend on the time-dependent evolution of the CR injection process, MFA, and particle escape, as well as the shock dynamic evolution. This result comes from the fact that the high-energy end of the CR spectrum is composed of particles that are injected in the very early stages of the blast wave evolution. Thus, it is crucial to better understand the plasma wave-particle interactions associated with collisionless shocks in detailed modeling of nonthermal radiation from SNRs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number25
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 1 2013


  • ISM: supernova remnants
  • acceleration of particles
  • cosmic rays
  • shock waves


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