Ambipolar Diffusion

Type Conference Paper
Names Ellen G. Zweibel
Conference Name Astrophysics and Space Science Library
Volume 407
Pages 285
Date 2015
DOI 10.1007/978-3-662-44625-6_11
Library Catalog
Abstract When magnetic forces are present in a partially ionized medium, the plasma drifts with respect to the neutrals. This plasma—neutral drift, which is known as ambipolar diffusion, occurs in all partially ionized astrophysical systems, including portions of the interstellar medium, protostellar accretion disks, and the chromosphere of the Sun and other cool stars. Ambipolar drift redistributes magnetic flux, which can trigger star formation. It affects short wavelength interstellar turbulence, the structure of interstellar shocks, flow driven instabilities, and the nature of magnetic reconnection. Energy dissipated by ion-neutral friction can be an important source of heat. This chapter reviews ambipolar drift as a process and discusses some of the implications.
Tags Physics
UW-Madison Astronomy Home