Journal article

Magnetohydrodynamics of chiral relativistic fluids

We study the dynamics of a plasma of charged relativistic fermions at very high temperature T >> m, where m is the fermion mass, coupled to the electromagnetic field. In particular, we derive a magnetohydrodynamical description of the evolution of such a plasma. We show that, compared to conventional magnetohydronamics (MHD) for a plasma of nonrelativistic particles, the hydrodynamical description of the relativistic plasma involves new degrees of freedom described by a pseudoscalar field originating in a local asymmetry in the densities of left-handed and right-handed fermions. This field can be interpreted as an effective axion field. Taking into account the chiral anomaly we present dynamical equations for the evolution of this field, as well as of other fields appearing in the MHD description of the plasma. Due to its nonlinear coupling to helical magnetic fields, the axion field significantly affects the dynamics of a magnetized plasma and can give rise to a novel type of inverse cascade.


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