Armstrong, C. K., Litvinenko, Y. E., & Craig, I. J. D. (2012). Modeling focused acceleration of cosmic-ray particles by stochastic methods. The Astrophysical Journal, 757(2), Published online.
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/6724
Schlickeiser & Shalchi suggested that a first-order Fermi mechanism of focused particle acceleration could be important in several astrophysical applications. In order to investigate focused acceleration, we express the Fokker-Planck equation as an equivalent system of stochastic differential equations. We simplify the system for a set of physically motivated parameters, extend the analytical theory, and determine the evolving particle distribution numerically. While our numerical results agree with the focused acceleration rate of Schlickeiser & Shalchi for a weakly anisotropic particle distribution, we establish significant limitations of the analytical approach. Momentum diffusion is found to be more significant than focused acceleration at early times. Most critically, the particle distribution rapidly becomes anisotropic, leading to a much slower momentum gain rate. We discuss the consequences of our results for the role of focused acceleration in astrophysics.
Institute of Physics -IOP