Department of Particle Physics and Astrophysics

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Vladimir Usov

Professor Emeritus
Location:Edna and K.B. Weissman Building of Physical Sciences, Room A285

Research Interests:

Magnetized Plasma
There is now compelling evidence that magnetized plasma is ejected from many astronomical objects (pulsars, jets associated with active galactic nuclei, gamma-ray bursters, etc.) and flows away at relativistic speeds. We study the outflow of relativistic strongly magnetized plasma and its interaction with an external medium. It is shown that this interaction may be responsible for both acceleration of particles to very high energies and generation of nonthermal radiation from these astronomical objects.

Ultra-strong Magnetic Fields

A common feature of neutron stars is a very strong magnetic field at their surface, up to million billion Gauss that is about billion times more than the strength of magnetic fields generated in scientific laboratories on the Earth. We consider the properties of matter in such a strong magnetic field.

Quark-matter Entities

In 1984 Witten proposed that strange matter made of quarks is the ground state. If this idea is true, at least some of the compact objects known to astronomers as radio pulsars, accreting X-ray sources, X-ray and gamma-ray bursters, etc. might be strange-quark-matter stars, not neutron stars as usually assumed. We study the properties of strange-quark-matter stars. The main goal of our research is toinvestigate the physical processes at, and radiation from, the surface of strange-quark-matter stars, with a view to suggesting good observational signatures that will distinguish them from neutron stars.


  1. Smolsky M.V. and Usov V.V.  Relativistic beam -- magnetic barrier collision and nonthermal radiationof cosmological gamma-ray bursters.  Astrophys. J., 461, 858, 1996.
  2. Usov V.V.  Millisecond pulsars with extremely strong magnetic fields as a cosmological source of gamma-ray bursts. Nature, 357,  472, 1992.
  3. Usov V.V. Bare quark matter surfaces of strange stars and e+e- emission. Phys. Rev. Letters, 80, 230, 1998.