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Title: Current sheets and pressure anisotropy in the reconnection exhaust

A particle-in-cell simulation shows that the exhaust during anti-parallel reconnection in the collisionless regime contains a current sheet extending 100 inertial lengths from the X line. The current sheet is supported by electron pressure anisotropy near the X line and ion anisotropy farther downstream. Field-aligned electron currents flowing outside the magnetic separatrices feed the exhaust current sheet and generate the out-of-plane, or Hall, magnetic field. Existing models based on different mechanisms for each particle species provide good estimates for the levels of pressure anisotropy. The ion anisotropy, which is strong enough to reach the firehose instability threshold, is also important for overall force balance. It reduces the outflow speed of the plasma.
Authors:
; ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4] ; ;  [5]
  1. SciberQuest, Inc., Del Mar, California 92014 (United States)
  2. University of Wisconsin–Madison, Madison, Wisconsin 53706 (United States)
  3. PPPL, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey 08543 (United States)
  4. University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa 52242 (United States)
  5. Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico 87545 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22252160
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Physics of Plasmas; Journal Volume: 21; Journal Issue: 1; Other Information: (c) 2014 AIP Publishing LLC; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
70 PLASMA PHYSICS AND FUSION TECHNOLOGY; ANISOTROPY; CURRENTS; ELECTRONS; HOSE INSTABILITY; MAGNETIC FIELDS; PLASMA; SIMULATION