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Title: A generalized two-fluid picture of non-driven collisionless reconnection and its relation to whistler waves

Abstract

A generalized, intuitive two-fluid picture of 2D non-driven collisionless magnetic reconnection is described using results from a full-3D numerical simulation. The relevant two-fluid equations simplify to the condition that the flux associated with canonical circulation Q=m e∇×u e+q eB is perfectly frozen into the electron fluid. In the reconnection geometry, flux tubes defined by Q are convected with the central electron current, effectively stretching the tubes and increasing the magnitude of Q exponentially. This, coupled with the fact that Q is a sum of two quantities, explains how the magnetic fields in the reconnection region reconnect and give rise to strong electron acceleration. The Q motion provides an interpretation for other phenomena as well, such as spiked central electron current filaments. The simulated reconnection rate was found to agree with a previous analytical calculation having the same geometry. Energy analysis shows that the magnetic energy is converted and propagated mainly in the form of the Poynting flux, and helicity analysis shows that the canonical helicity ∫P·Q dV as a whole must be considered when analyzing reconnection. A mechanism for whistler wave generation and propagation is also described, with comparisons to recent spacecraft observations.

Authors:
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Caltech; California Inst. of Technology (CalTech), Pasadena, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Fusion Energy Sciences (FES) (SC-24)
OSTI Identifier:
1355585
Grant/Contract Number:
FG02-04ER54755
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Physics of Plasmas
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 24; Journal Issue: 5; Journal ID: ISSN 1070-664X
Publisher:
American Institute of Physics (AIP)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
70 PLASMA PHYSICS AND FUSION TECHNOLOGY; Magnetic Reconnection; Magnetic Fields; Whistler Waves; Quadrupole; Convection Currents; magnetic reconnection; magnetic fields; whistler waves; quadrupole; convection currents

Citation Formats

None, None. A generalized two-fluid picture of non-driven collisionless reconnection and its relation to whistler waves. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1063/1.4982812.
None, None. A generalized two-fluid picture of non-driven collisionless reconnection and its relation to whistler waves. United States. doi:10.1063/1.4982812.
None, None. 2017. "A generalized two-fluid picture of non-driven collisionless reconnection and its relation to whistler waves". United States. doi:10.1063/1.4982812.
@article{osti_1355585,
title = {A generalized two-fluid picture of non-driven collisionless reconnection and its relation to whistler waves},
author = {None, None},
abstractNote = {A generalized, intuitive two-fluid picture of 2D non-driven collisionless magnetic reconnection is described using results from a full-3D numerical simulation. The relevant two-fluid equations simplify to the condition that the flux associated with canonical circulation Q=me∇×ue+qeB is perfectly frozen into the electron fluid. In the reconnection geometry, flux tubes defined by Q are convected with the central electron current, effectively stretching the tubes and increasing the magnitude of Q exponentially. This, coupled with the fact that Q is a sum of two quantities, explains how the magnetic fields in the reconnection region reconnect and give rise to strong electron acceleration. The Q motion provides an interpretation for other phenomena as well, such as spiked central electron current filaments. The simulated reconnection rate was found to agree with a previous analytical calculation having the same geometry. Energy analysis shows that the magnetic energy is converted and propagated mainly in the form of the Poynting flux, and helicity analysis shows that the canonical helicity ∫P·Q dV as a whole must be considered when analyzing reconnection. A mechanism for whistler wave generation and propagation is also described, with comparisons to recent spacecraft observations.},
doi = {10.1063/1.4982812},
journal = {Physics of Plasmas},
number = 5,
volume = 24,
place = {United States},
year = 2017,
month = 5
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
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  • A generalized, intuitive two-fluid picture of 2D non-driven collisionless magnetic reconnection is described using results from a full-3D numerical simulation. The relevant two-fluid equations simplify to the condition that the flux associated with canonical circulation Q=m e∇×u e+q eB is perfectly frozen into the electron fluid. In the reconnection geometry, flux tubes defined by Q are convected with the central electron current, effectively stretching the tubes and increasing the magnitude of Q exponentially. This, coupled with the fact that Q is a sum of two quantities, explains how the magnetic fields in the reconnection region reconnect and give rise tomore » strong electron acceleration. The Q motion provides an interpretation for other phenomena as well, such as spiked central electron current filaments. The simulated reconnection rate was found to agree with a previous analytical calculation having the same geometry. Energy analysis shows that the magnetic energy is converted and propagated mainly in the form of the Poynting flux, and helicity analysis shows that the canonical helicity ∫P·Q dV as a whole must be considered when analyzing reconnection. A mechanism for whistler wave generation and propagation is also described, with comparisons to recent spacecraft observations.« less
  • If either finite electron inertia or finite resistivity is included in 2D magnetic reconnection, the two-fluid equations become a pair of second-order differential equations coupling the out-of-plane magnetic field and vector potential to each other to form a fourth-order system. The coupling at an X-point is such that out-of-plane even-parity electric and odd-parity magnetic fields feed off each other to produce instability if the scale length on which the equilibrium magnetic field changes is less than the ion skin depth. The instability growth rate is given by an eigenvalue of the fourth-order system determined by boundary and symmetry conditions. Themore » instability is a purely growing mode, not a wave, and has growth rate of the order of the whistler frequency. The spatial profile of both the out-of-plane electric and magnetic eigenfunctions consists of an inner concave region having extent of the order of the electron skin depth, an intermediate convex region having extent of the order of the equilibrium magnetic field scale length, and a concave outer exponentially decaying region. If finite electron inertia and resistivity are not included, the inner concave region does not exist and the coupled pair of equations reduces to a second-order differential equation having non-physical solutions at an X-point.« less