skip to main content


This content will become publicly available on November 27, 2018

Title: Magnetic Pumping as a Source of Particle Heating and Power-Law Distributions in the Solar Wind

Based on the rate of expansion of the solar wind, the plasma should cool rapidly as a function of distance to the Sun. Observations show this is not the case. In this work, a magnetic pumping model is developed as a possible explanation for the heating and the generation of power-law distribution functions observed in the solar wind plasma. Most previous studies in this area focus on the role that the dissipation of turbulent energy on microscopic kinetic scales plays in the overall heating of the plasma. However, with magnetic pumping, particles are energized by the largest-scale turbulent fluctuations, thus bypassing the energy cascade. In contrast to other models, we include the pressure anisotropy term, providing a channel for the large-scale fluctuations to heat the plasma directly. A complete set of coupled differential equations describing the evolution, and energization, of the distribution function are derived, as well as an approximate closed-form solution. Numerical simulations using the VPIC kinetic code are applied to verify the model's analytical predictions. The results of the model for realistic solar wind scenario are computed, where thermal streaming of particles are important for generating a phase shift between the magnetic perturbations and the pressure anisotropy. Inmore » turn, averaged over a pump cycle, the phase shift permits mechanical work to be converted directly to heat in the plasma. Here, the results of this scenario show that magnetic pumping may account for a significant portion of the solar wind energization.« less
 [1] ;  [2] ; ORCiD logo [1] ;  [3]
  1. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
  2. Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI (United States). Dept. of Physics
  3. Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 2041-8213
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal. Letters
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 850; Journal Issue: 2; Journal ID: ISSN 2041-8213
Institute of Physics (IOP)
Research Org:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE; US Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR); National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA); USDOD
Country of Publication:
United States
79 ASTRONOMY AND ASTROPHYSICS; Heliospheric and Magnetospheric Physics; acceleration of particles; magnetic fields; plasmas; scattering; solar wind
OSTI Identifier: