Magnetic field gradient effects on the magnetorotational instability

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ASTRONOMISCHE NACHRICHTEN, vol.338, no.6, pp.740-747, 2017 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 338 Issue: 6
  • Publication Date: 2017
  • Doi Number: 10.1002/asna.201713275
  • Page Numbers: pp.740-747


Magnetorotational instability (MRI), also known as the Balbus-Hawley instability, is thought to have an important role on the initiation of turbulence and angular momentum transport in accretion disks. In this work, we investigate the effect of the magnetic field gradient in the azimuthal direction on MRI. We solve the magnetohydrodynamic equations by including the azimuthal component of the field gradient. We find the dispersion relation and calculate the growth rates of the instability numerically. The inclusion of the azimuthal magnetic field gradient produces a new unstable region in the wavenumber space. It also modifies the growth rate and the wavelength range of the unstable mode: the higher the magnitude of the field gradient, the greater the growth rate and the wider the unstable wavenumber range. Such a gradient in the magnetic field may be important in T Tauri disks, where the stellar magnetic field has an axis that is misaligned with respect to the rotation axis of the disk.