Gamma Ray Bursts
Prof. Lyutikov work on the physics of Gamma Ray Bursts focuses on the promising idea that GRB progenitors may be rotating relativistic stellar-mass objects which lose most of their energy in a form of ultra-relativistic outflow dominated by electro-magnetic fields and thus resemble, in some respect, pulsar winds.
Solar Coronal Mass Ejections
Coronal mass ejections represent perhaps the most extreme manifestation of solar activity. CMEs may carry up to 10^16 g of plasma at speeds in excess of 1000 km/ s. The shocks driven by CME events can be efficient accelerators of energetic particles, constituting the main radiation hazard for space-borne instrumentation. The spectacular nature of the phenomenon, and its relevance to space-based technology, have spawned much theoretical and observational work with the ultimate goal of understanding CMEs sufficiently deeply to enable the forecasting of such events, in a discipline that has become known as "space weather". Prof. Lyutikov is developing models of CMEs, which are compared with observations of ionic charge states in the solar wind during CMEs.
Active Galactic Nuclei
Large-scale magnetic fields are almost universally accepted to play an important role in jet production, acceleration, and, especially, collimation of jets. Prof. Lyutikov's group studies jet dynamics, observed polarization properties, energy dissipation and particle acceleration in relativistic AGN jets.
Pulsars & PWNs
Prof. Lyutikov's research has shown that the theory of pulsar radio emission generation, in which observed waves are produced directly by maser-type plasma instabilities on the anomalous cyclotron-Cherenkov and the Cherenkov-drift resonances, is capable of explaining the main observational characteristics of pulsar radio emission.
We have also investigated several possibilities that may affect evolution of pulsar wind nebulae like mass loading of relativistic magnetized pulsar wind, and possible role of relativistic reconnection.
Observation of the Pulsar Wind Nebulae offers a rare opportunity to constrain properties of pulsar winds. In collaboration with members of the astrophysics group at McGill University, Prof. Lyutikov performed radiation modeling of plerionic nebula inside a young supernova remnant G11.2-0.3, believed to be the historical remnant of the supernova AD 386.
AXPs & SGRs
The leading model of AXPs and SGRs (commonly called magnetars) associates them with magnetized neutron stars that power X-ray emission by dissipating internal magnetic fields, often in eruptive events. Such dissipation creates large-scale currents flowing in magnetosphere.
Professor Lyutikov's group study the structure of current-carrying magnetosphere and investigate the effects of the resonant Comptonization by charge carriers on emergent X-ray spectra and pulse profiles.
When energy density of a magnetic field is much larger than plasma energy density, the dynamics becomes totally dominated by magnetic fields: plasma particles only provide charges and currents required to ensure that there is no electric field along the magnetic field. Investigation of the dynamics of such necessarily relativistic systems is only starting.
Magnetic reconnection is widely recognized as a very important phenomenon in many laboratory and astrophysical plasmas. Magnetic reconnection processes are also of great importance in high energy astrophysics, where dynamic behavior is often dominated by super-strong magnetic fields, with energy density larger than the energy of matter.