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Title: Computing the reconnection rate in turbulent kinetic layers by using electron mixing to identify topology

Three-dimensional kinetic simulations of magnetic reconnection for parameter regimes relevant to the magnetopause current layer feature the development of turbulence, driven by the magnetic and velocity shear, and dominated by coherent structures including flux ropes, current sheets, and flow vortices. Here, we propose a new approach for computing the global reconnection rate in the presence of this complexity. The mixing of electrons originating from separate sides of the magnetopause layer is used as a proxy to rapidly identify the magnetic topology and track the evolution of magnetic flux. The details of this method are illustrated for an asymmetric current layer relevant to the subsolar magnetopause and for a flow shear dominated layer relevant to the lower latitude magnetopause. While the three-dimensional reconnection rates show a number of interesting differences relative to the corresponding two-dimensional simulations, the time scale for the energy conversion remains very similar. These results suggest that the mixing of field lines between topologies is more easily influenced by kinetic turbulence than the physics responsible for the energy conversion.
Authors:
;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4]
  1. Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico 87545 (United States)
  2. Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, UCSD, La Jolla, California 92093, USA and SciberQuest, Inc., Del Mar, California 92014 (United States)
  3. SciberQuest, Inc., Del Mar, California 92014 (United States)
  4. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, California 94720 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22252819
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Physics of Plasmas; Journal Volume: 21; Journal Issue: 5; 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; ELECTRONS; ENERGY CONVERSION; LAYERS; MAGNETIC FLUX; MAGNETIC RECONNECTION; MAGNETOPAUSE; MIXING; SHEAR; SIMULATION; THREE-DIMENSIONAL CALCULATIONS; TOPOLOGY; TURBULENCE