Electron Heating and Saturation of Self-regulating Magnetorotational Instability in Protoplanetary Disks [EPA]


Magnetorotational instability (MRI) has a potential to generate the vigorous turbulence in protoplanetary disks, although its turbulence strength and accretion stress remains debatable because of the uncertainty of MRI with low ionization fraction. We focus on the heating of electrons by strong electric fields which amplifies nonideal magnetohydrodynamic effects. The heated electrons frequently collide with and stick to dust grains, which in turn decreases the ionization fraction and is expected to weaken the turbulent motion driven by MRI. In order to quantitatively investigate the nonlinear evolution of MRI including the electron heating, we perform magnetohydrodynamical simulation with the unstratified shearing box. We introduce a simple analytic resistivity model depending on the current density by mimicking resistivity given by the calculation of ionization. Our simulation confirms that the electron heating suppresses magnetic turbulence when the electron heating occurs with low current density. We find a clear correlation between magnetic stress and its current density, which means that the magnetic stress is proportional to the squared current density. When the turbulent motion is completely suppressed, laminar accretion flow is caused by ordered magnetic field. We give an analytical description of the laminar state by using a solution of linear perturbation equations with resistivity. We also propose a formula that successfully predicts the accretion stress in the presence of the electron heating.

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S. Mori, T. Muranushi, S. Okuzumi, et. al.
Fri, 22 Sep 17

Comments: 12 pages, 12 figures, accepted for publication in ApJ