Plasma waves and jets from moving conductors

Samuel E. Gralla, Peter Zimmerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


We consider force-free plasma waves launched by the motion of conducting material through a magnetic field. We develop a spacetime-covariant formalism for perturbations of a uniform magnetic field and show how the transverse motion of a conducting fluid acts as a source. We show that fast-mode waves are sourced by the compressibility of the fluid, with incompressible fluids launching a pure-Alfvén outflow. Remarkably, this outflow can be written down in closed form for an arbitrary time-dependent, nonaxisymmetric incompressible flow. The instantaneous flow velocity is imprinted on the magnetic field and transmitted away at the speed of light, carrying detailed information about the conducting source at the time of emission. These results can be applied to transients in pulsar outflows and to jets from neutron stars orbiting in the magnetosphere of another compact object. We discuss jets from moving conductors in some detail.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number123016
JournalPhysical Review D
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 23 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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