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Paper: Simulations of Pulsar Wind Formation
Volume: 271, Neutron Stars in Supernova Remnants
Page: 81
Authors: Spitkovsky, A.; Arons, J.
Abstract: We present initial results of the first self-consistent numerical model of the outer magnetosphere of a pulsar. By using the relativistic ``particle-in-cell'' method with special boundary conditions to represent plasma dynamics in 3D, we are able to follow magnetospheric plasma through the light cylinder into the wind zone for arbitrary magnetic inclination angles. For aligned rotators we confirm the ``disk-dome'' charge-separated structure of the magnetosphere and find that this configuration is unstable to a 3D non-axisymmetric diocotron instability. This instability allows plasma to move across the field lines and approach the corotating Goldreich-Julian solution within several rotation periods. For oblique rotators formation of the spiral ``striped wind'' in the equatorial direction is demonstrated and the acceleration of the wind and its magnetization is discussed. We find that the wind properties vary with stellar latitude; however, whether injection conditions at the pulsar are responsible for the observed jet-equator geometry of the Crab and Vela pulsars is currently under investigation. We also comment on the electrodynamics of the simulated magnetospheres, their current closure, and future simulations.
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