Department of Applied Physics and Materials Science - Applied Physics

Using Applied Physics to Explain How Accretion Disks Drive Astrophysical Jets

April 01, 2016

Paul M. Bellan, Professor of Applied Physics, has developed a new model explaining why astrophysical jets always originate from stars having accretion disks, the progenitors of planets. The relationship between jets and accretion disks has eluded scientists for many years and what happens to the angular momentum of accreting particles has also long been a mystery. Professor Bellan’s model explains how the disks power the jets as well as how angular momentum is removed from accreting material in the disks. The model involves peculiar inward spiraling trajectories of clumps of charged and neutral particles, and shows that the disk and jets together form an electric circuit where the disk is the battery and the jet is the load. [Read the Paper]

Illustration of clumps of charged and neutral particles (Figure 2 in paper)

Illustration of clumps of charged and neutral particles (Figure 2 in paper)

Time development of jet (Figure 5 in paper)

Time development of jet (Figure 5 in paper)

Tags: APhMS research highlights Paul Bellan