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Magnetic field amplification in protoneutron stars

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Extremely strong magnetic fields of the order of 10^15 Gauss are required to explain the properties of magnetars, the most magnetic neutron stars. Such a strong magnetic field is expected to play an important role for the dynamics of core-collapse supernovae, and in the presence of rapid rotation may power superluminous supernovae and hypernovae associated to long gamma-ray bursts. The origin of these strong magnetic fields remains, however, obscure and most likely requires an amplification over several orders of magnitude in the protoneutron star. I will review our current understanding of the physical processes that may lead to this magnetic field amplification, including the magnetorotational instability and the convective dynamo.

This talk is part of the DAMTP Astrophysics Seminars series.

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