Skip to main content

New model explains origin of magnetic fields

A new model to explain the origin and amplification of magnetic fields up to current levels was recently published in the journal Physical Review Letters by a team of researchers from the Institute of Plasmas and Nuclear Fusion of the Instituto Superior Técnico.

It is widely accepted that in the early universe magnetic fields did not exist. This FCT-funded study demonstrates, through numerical simulations on supercomputers, that the existence of spatial variations of density and temperature compatible with the existing conditions in the early universe, may have led to the creation of "seed magnetic fields ", that may have triggered the amplification of magnetic fields to current levels.

The most plausible justification for the amplification of magnetic fields is the turbulent dynamo effect. According to this model, the mix of components in a "seed magnetic field" under the dynamo effect leads to the creation of a significant magnetic field.

Kevin Schoeffler, one of the researchers on the team, believes that " these results represent a significant advance over previous models in which the value of this seed field was too small to stimulate the action of the turbulent dynamo. In our scenario, which represents a new paradigm for magnetogenesis, we predict that magnetic seed field may, in fact, be several orders of magnitude more intense".