Elena Amato - INAF/Arcetri

Elena Amato
Are you Elena Amato?

Claim your profile, edit publications, add additional information:

Contact Details

Elena Amato

Pubs By Year

External Links

Pub Categories

High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena (18)
Astrophysics (12)
High Energy Physics - Phenomenology (2)
Solar and Stellar Astrophysics (1)
Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (1)

Publications Authored By Elena Amato

Affiliations: 1INAF-Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri, 2INAF-Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri

The physics of energetic particle propagation in magnetised environments plays a crucial role in both the processes of acceleration and transport of cosmic rays. Recent theoretical developments in the field of cosmic ray research have been mainly in the direction of exploring non-linear aspects of the processes in which these particles are involved, namely the action of cosmic rays on the environment in which the transport and/or acceleration take place. When cosmic rays propagate outside of the acceleration region, such action is mainly in two forms: 1) they generate hydromagnetic waves, through streaming instabilities, leading to a dependence of the scattering properties of the medium on the spectrum and spatial distribution of the energetic particles, and 2) they exert a dynamical action on the plasma, which may cause the launching of cosmic ray driven Galactic winds. Read More

In this contribution we review the recent progress in the modeling of Pulsar Wind Nebulae (PWN). We start with a brief overview of the relevant physical processes in the magnetosphere, the wind-zone and the inflated nebula bubble. Radiative signatures and particle transport processes obtained from 3D simulations of PWN are discussed in the context of optical and X-ray observations. Read More

Several Pulsar Wind Nebulae (PWNe) have been detected in the TeV band in the last decade.The TeV emission is typically interpreted in a purely leptonic scenario, but this usually requires that the magnetic field in the Nebula be much lower than the equipartition value and the assumption of an enhanced target radiation at IR frequencies. In this work we consider the possibility that, in addition to the relativistic electrons, also relativistic hadrons are present in these nebulae. Read More

Supernova remnants (SNRs) are thought to be the primary sources of Galactic Cosmic Rays (CRs). In the last few years, the wealth of gamma-ray data collected by GeV and TeV instruments has provided important information about particle energisation in these astrophysical sources, allowing us to make progress in assessing their role as CR accelerators. In particular, the spectrum of the gamma-ray emission detected by AGILE and Fermi-LAT from the two middle aged Supernova Remnants (SNRs) W44 and IC443, has been proposed as a proof of CR acceleration in SNRs. Read More

The residence time of cosmic rays (CRs) in the Galaxy is usually inferred from the measurement of the ratio of secondary-to-primary nuclei, such as the boron (B)/carbon (C) ratio, which provides an estimate of the amount of matter traversed by CRs during their propagation, the so called CR grammage. However, after being released by their parent sources, for instance supernova remnants (SNRs), CRs must cross the disc of the Galaxy, before entering the much lower density halo, in which they are believed to spend most of the time before eventually escaping the Galaxy. In the near-source region, the CR propagation is shown to be dominated by the non-linear self-generation of waves. Read More

One of the most important challenges for the largely accepted idea that Galactic CRs are accelerated in SNR shocks is the maximum energy at which particles can be accelerated. The resonant streaming instability, long invoked for magnetic field amplification at shocks, can not provide sufficiently high fields and efficient enough scattering so as to ensure particle acceleration up to the knee. Here we discuss the non-resonant version of this instability which, with its faster growth and larger value of the amplified field, increases the achievable maximum energy. Read More

Young, fast-rotating neutron stars are promising candidate sources for the production of ultrahigh energy cosmic rays (UHECRs). The interest in this model has recently been boosted by the latest chemical composition measurements of cosmic rays, that seem to show the presence of a heavy nuclear component at the highest energies. Neutrons stars, with their metal-rich surfaces, are potentially interesting sources of such nuclei, but some open issues remain: 1) is it possible to extract these nuclei from the star's surface? 2) Do the nuclei survive the severe conditions present in the magnetosphere of the neutron star? 3) What happens to the surviving nuclei once they enter the wind that is launched outside the light cylinder? In this paper we address these issues in a quantitative way, proving that for the most reasonable range of neutron star surface temperatures ($T<10^7\,$K), a large fraction of heavy nuclei survive photo-disintegration losses. Read More

Astrophysical sources are extremely efficient accelerators. Some sources emit photons up to multi-TeV energies, a signature of the presence, within them, of particles with energies much higher than those achievable with the largest accelerators on Earth. Even more compelling evidence comes from the study of Cosmic Rays, charged relativistic particles that reach the Earth with incredibly high energies: at the highest energy end of their spectrum, these subatomic particles are carrying a macroscopic energy, up to a few Joules. Read More

While from the energetic point of view SNRs are viable sources of Galactic CRs, the issue of whether they can accelerate protons up to PeV remains unsolved. Here we discuss particle acceleration at the forward shock of SN and discuss the possibility that the escaping particle current may excite a non-resonant instability that in turn leads to the formation of resonant modes confining particles close to the shock and increasing the maximum energy. This mechanism works throughout the expansion of the SN explosion, from the ejecta dominated (ED) to the Sedov-Taylor (ST) phase. Read More

Pulsar Wind Nebulae are the astrophysical sources that host the most relativistic shocks in Nature and the only Galactic sources in which we have direct evidence of PeV particles. These facts make them very interesting from the point of view of particle acceleration physics, and their proximity and brightness make them a place where fundamental processes common to different classes of relativistic sources have a better chance to be understood. I will discuss how well we understand the physics of Pulsar Wind Nebulae, describing recent progress and highlighting the main open questions. Read More

The Crab Nebula is one of the most efficient accelerators in the Galaxy and the only galactic source showing direct evidence of PeV particles. In spite of this, the physical process behind such effective acceleration is still a deep mystery. While particle acceleration, at least at the highest energies, is commonly thought to occur at the pulsar wind termination shock, the properties of the upstream flow are thought to be non-uniform along the shock surface, and important constraints on the mechanism at work come from exact knowledge of where along this surface particles are being accelerated. Read More

Initial discovery of CRs dates back to a century ago (1912). Their identification as particles rather than radiation dates to about 20 years later and in 20 more years also the first suggestion that they were associated with SNRs was in place. The basic mechanism behind their acceleration was suggested almost 40 years ago. Read More

In recent years, it has become a well-established paradigm that many aspects of the physics of Pulsar Wind Nebulae (PWNe) can be fully accounted for within a relativistic MHD description. Numerical simulations have proven extremely successful in reproducing the X-ray morphology of the Crab Nebula, down to very fine detail. Radio emission, instead, is currently one of the most obscure aspects of the physics of these objects, and one that holds important information about pulsar properties and their role as antimatter factories. Read More

Authors: Paolo Soffitta, Xavier Barcons, Ronaldo Bellazzini, João Braga, Enrico Costa, George W. Fraser, Szymon Gburek, Juhani Huovelin, Giorgio Matt, Mark Pearce, Juri Poutanen, Victor Reglero, Andrea Santangelo, Rashid A. Sunyaev, Gianpiero Tagliaferri, Martin Weisskopf, Roberto Aloisio, Elena Amato, Primo Attiná, Magnus Axelsson, Luca Baldini, Stefano Basso, Stefano Bianchi, Pasquale Blasi, Johan Bregeon, Alessandro Brez, Niccoló Bucciantini, Luciano Burderi, Vadim Burwitz, Piergiorgio Casella, Eugene Churazov, Marta Civitani, Stefano Covino, Rui Miguel Curado da Silva, Giancarlo Cusumano, Mauro Dadina, Flavio D'Amico, Alessandra De Rosa, Sergio Di Cosimo, Giuseppe Di Persio, Tiziana Di Salvo, Michal Dovciak, Ronald Elsner, Chris J. Eyles, Andrew C. Fabian, Sergio Fabiani, Hua Feng, Salvatore Giarrusso, René W. Goosmann, Paola Grandi, Nicolas Grosso, Gianluca Israel, Miranda Jackson, Philip Kaaret, Vladimir Karas, Michael Kuss, Dong Lai, Giovanni La Rosa, Josefin Larsson, Stefan Larsson, Luca Latronico, Antonio Maggio, Jorge Maia, Frédéric Marin, Marco Maria Massai, Teresa Mineo, Massimo Minuti, Elena Moretti, Fabio Muleri, Stephen L. O'Dell, Giovanni Pareschi, Giovanni Peres, Melissa Pesce, Pierre-Olivier Petrucci, Michele Pinchera, Delphine Porquet, Brian Ramsey, Nanda Rea, Fabio Reale, Juana Maria Rodrigo, Agata Różańska, Alda Rubini, Pawel Rudawy, Felix Ryde, Marco Salvati, Valdivino Alexandre de Santiago Júnior, Sergey Sazonov, Carmelo Sgró, Eric Silver, Gloria Spandre, Daniele Spiga, Luigi Stella, Toru Tamagawa, Francesco Tamborra, Fabrizio Tavecchio, Teresa Teixeira Dias, Matthew van Adelsberg, Kinwah Wu, Silvia Zane

X-ray polarimetry, sometimes alone, and sometimes coupled to spectral and temporal variability measurements and to imaging, allows a wealth of physical phenomena in astrophysics to be studied. X-ray polarimetry investigates the acceleration process, for example, including those typical of magnetic reconnection in solar flares, but also emission in the strong magnetic fields of neutron stars and white dwarfs. It detects scattering in asymmetric structures such as accretion disks and columns, and in the so-called molecular torus and ionization cones. Read More

We show that the complex shape of the cosmic ray (CR) spectrum, as recently measured by PAMELA and inferred from Fermi-LAT gamma-ray observations of molecular clouds in the Gould belt, can be naturally understood in terms of basic plasma astrophysics phenomena. A break from a harder to a softer spectrum at blue rigidity R\simeq 10 GV follows from a transition from transport dominated by advection of particles with Alfven waves to a regime where diffusion in the turbulence generated by the same CRs is dominant. A second break at R\simeq 200 GV happens when the diffusive propagation is no longer determined by the self-generated turbulence, but rather by the cascading of externally generated turbulence (for instance due to supernova (SN) bubbles) from large spatial scales to smaller scales where CRs can resonate. Read More

In this paper we investigate the effect of stochasticity in the spatial and temporal distribution of supernova remnants on the spectrum and chemical composition of cosmic rays observed at Earth. The calculations are carried out for different choices of the diffusion coefficient D(E) experienced by cosmic rays during propagation in the Galaxy. In particular, at high energies we assume that D(E)\sim E^{\delta}, with $\delta=1/3$ and $\delta=0. Read More

We investigate the effects of stochasticity in the spatial and temporal distribution of supernova remnants on the anisotropy of cosmic rays observed at Earth. The calculations are carried out for different choices of the diffusion coefficient D(E) for propagation in the Galaxy. The propagation and spallation of nuclei are taken into account. Read More

Affiliations: 1INAF/Arcetri, 2INAF/Arcetri

Pulsars, or more generally rotation powered neutron stars, are excellent factories of antimatter in the Galaxy, in the form of pairs of electrons and positrons. Electrons are initially extracted from the surface of the star by the intense rotation induced electric fields and later transformed into electron-positron pairs through electromagnetic cascading. Observations of Pulsar Wind Nebulae (PWNe) show that cascades in the pulsar magnetosphere must ensure pair multiplicities of order $10^{4}-10^{5}$. Read More

We show that a purely kinetic approach to the excitation of waves by cosmic rays in the vicinity of a shock front leads to predict the appearance of a non-alfv\'enic fastly growing mode which has the same dispersion relation as that previously found by \cite{bell04} by treating the plasma in the MHD approximation. The kinetic approach allows us to investigate the dependence of the dispersion relation of these waves on the microphysics of the current which compensates the cosmic ray flow. We also show that a resonant and a non-resonant mode may appear at the same time and one of the two may become dominant on the other depending on the conditions in the acceleration region. Read More

Recent observations of greatly amplified magnetic fields ($\delta B/B\sim 100$) around supernova shocks are consistent with the predictions of the non-linear theory of particle acceleration (NLT), if the field is generated upstream of the shock by cosmic ray induced streaming instability. The high acceleration efficiencies and large shock modifications predicted by NLT need however to be mitigated to confront observations, and this is usually assumed to be accomplished by some form of turbulent heating. We show here that magnetic fields with the strength inferred from observations have an important dynamical role on the shock, and imply a shock modification substantially reduced with respect to the naive unmagnetized case. Read More

Affiliations: 1Univ. of Florence Italy, 2Univ. of Florence Italy, 3Observatory of Arcetri Italy, 4Univ. of California at Berkeley
Category: Astrophysics

We present a complete set of diagnostic tools aimed at reproducing synthetic non-thermal (synchrotron and/or Inverse Compton, IC) emissivity, integrated flux energy, polarization and spectral index simulated maps in comparison to observations. The time dependent relativistic magnetohydrodynamic (RMHD) equations are solved with a shock capturing code together with the evolution of the maximum particles energy. Applications to Pulsar Wind Nebulae (PWNe) are shown. Read More

Affiliations: 1INAF/Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri, 2INAF/Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri
Category: Astrophysics

We present some recent developments in the theory of particle acceleration at shock fronts in the presence of dynamical reaction of the accelerated particles and self-generation of magnetic field due to streaming instability. The spectra of accelerated particles, the velocity, magnetic field and temperature profiles can be calculated in this approach anywhere in the precursor and in the downstream region. The implications for the origin of cosmic rays and for the phenomenology of supernova remnants will be discussed. Read More

Affiliations: 1INAF/Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri, 2INAF/Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri
Category: Astrophysics

We show here that a purely kinetic approach to the excitation of waves by cosmic rays in the vicinity of a shock front leads to predict the appearance of a non-alfvenic fastly growing mode which is the same that was found by Bell (2004) by treating the plasma in the MHD approximation. The kinetic approach we present is more powerful in that it allows us to investigate different models for the compensation of the cosmic ray current in the background upstream plasma. Read More

Affiliations: 1INAF/Arcetri, 2INAF/Arcetri, 3MPIK/Heidelberg
Category: Astrophysics

Kinetic approaches provide an effective description of the process of particle acceleration at shock fronts and allow to take into account the dynamical reaction of the accelerated particles as well as the amplification of the turbulent magnetic field as due to streaming instability. The latter does in turn affect the maximum achievable momentum and thereby the acceleration process itself, in a chain of causality which is typical of non-linear systems. Here we provide a technical description of two of these kinetic approaches and show that they basically lead to the same conclusions. Read More

Affiliations: 1INAF/Arcetri Astrophysical Observatory, 2INAF/Arcetri Astrophysical Observatory, 3Scuola Normale Superiore Pisa
Category: Astrophysics

Particle acceleration at non-relativistic shocks can be very efficient, leading to the appearance of non-linear effects due to the dynamical reaction of the accelerated particles on the shock structure and to the non-linear amplification of the magnetic field in the shock vicinity. The value of the maximum momentum $p_{max}$ in these circumstances cannot be estimated using the classical results obtained within the framework of test particle approaches. We provide here the first attempt at estimating $p_{max}$ in the cosmic ray modified regime, taking into account the non-linear effects mentioned above. Read More


We report the results of 1D particle-in-cell simulations of ultrarelativistic shock waves in proton-electron-positron plasmas. We consider magnetized shock waves, in which the upstream medium carries a large scale magnetic field, directed transverse to the flow. Relativistic cyclotron instability of each species as the incoming particles encounter the increasing magnetic field within the shock front provides the basic plasma heating mechanism. Read More

Affiliations: 1INAF - Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri, 2INAF - Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri
Category: Astrophysics

Particle acceleration at astrophysical shocks may be very efficient if magnetic scattering is self-generated by the same particles. This nonlinear process adds to the nonlinear modification of the shock due to the dynamical reaction of the accelerated particles on the shock. Building on a previous general solution of the problem of particle acceleration with arbitrary diffusion coefficients (Amato & Blasi, 2005), we present here the first semi-analytical calculation of particle acceleration with both effects taken into account at the same time: charged particles are accelerated in the background of Alfven waves that they generate due to the streaming instability, and modify the dynamics of the plasma in the shock vicinity. Read More

A complete set of diagnostic tools aimed at producing synthetic synchrotron emissivity, polarization, and spectral index maps from relativistic MHD simulations is presented. As a first application we consider here the case of the emission from Pulsar Wind Nebulae (PWNe). The proposed method is based on the addition, on top of the basic set of MHD equations, of an extra equation describing the evolution of the maximum energy of the emitting particles. Read More

Diffusive acceleration at collisionless shock waves remains one of the most promising acceleration mechanisms for the description of the origin of cosmic rays at all energies. A crucial ingredient to be taken into account is the reaction of accelerated particles on the shock, which in turn determines the efficiency of the process. Here we propose a semi-analytical kinetic method that allows us to calculate the shock modification induced by accelerated particles together with the efficiency for particle acceleration and the spectra of accelerated particles. Read More

We consider a class of plerions that have been detected in the TeV range, and investigate the possibility that the emission is due to \pi^0 decay. From the TeV flux we derive what is the expected \nu flux at Earth and find that this is likely to exceed the detection threshold of the upcoming km^2 neutrino detectors. Read More