Seed magnetic fields in turbulent small-scale dynamos

Amit Seta*, Christoph Federrath

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    21 Citations (Scopus)


    Magnetic fields in galaxies and galaxy clusters are amplified from a very weak seed value to the observed $\mu$G strengths by the turbulent dynamo. The seed magnetic field can be of primordial or astrophysical origin. The strength and structure of the seed field, on the galaxy or galaxy cluster scale, can be very different, depending on the seed-field generation mechanism. The seed field first encounters the small-scale dynamo, thus we investigate the effects of the strength and structure of the seed field on the small-scale dynamo action. Using numerical simulations of driven turbulence and considering three different seed-field configurations: (1) uniform field, (2) random field with a power-law spectrum, and (3) random field with a parabolic spectrum, we show that the strength and statistical properties of the dynamo-generated magnetic fields are independent of the details of the seed field. We demonstrate that, even when the small-scale dynamo is not active, small-scale magnetic fields can be generated and amplified linearly due to the tangling of the large-scale field. In the presence of the small-scale dynamo action, we find that any memory of the seed field for the non-linear small-scale dynamo generated magnetic fields is lost and thus, it is not possible to trace back seed-field information from the evolved magnetic fields in a turbulent medium.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2076-2086
    Number of pages11
    JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020


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