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Title: THIN CURRENT SHEETS AND ASSOCIATED ELECTRON HEATING IN TURBULENT SPACE PLASMA

Intermittent structures, such as thin current sheets, are abundant in turbulent plasmas. Numerical simulations indicate that such current sheets are important sites of energy dissipation and particle heating occurring at kinetic scales. However, direct evidence of dissipation and associated heating within current sheets is scarce. Here, we show a new statistical study of local electron heating within proton-scale current sheets by using high-resolution spacecraft data. Current sheets are detected using the Partial Variance of Increments (PVI) method which identifies regions of strong intermittency. We find that strong electron heating occurs in high PVI (>3) current sheets while no significant heating occurs in low PVI cases (<3), indicating that the former are dominant for energy dissipation. Current sheets corresponding to very high PVI (>5) show the strongest heating and most of the time are consistent with ongoing magnetic reconnection. This suggests that reconnection is important for electron heating and dissipation at kinetic scales in turbulent plasmas.
Authors:
; ; ;  [1] ; ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [5]
  1. Laboratoire de Physique des Plasmas, Ecole Polytechnique, Palaiseau, F-91128 (France)
  2. Swedish Institute of Space Physics, Uppsala (Sweden)
  3. Space Sciences Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley, CA (United States)
  4. Dipartimento di Fisica, Universita della Calabria (Italy)
  5. IMIP-CNR, U.O.S. LICRYL di Cosenza (Italy)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22518992
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal Letters; Journal Volume: 804; Journal Issue: 1; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; ACCELERATION; COMPUTERIZED SIMULATION; COSMIC ELECTRONS; COSMIC PROTONS; ENERGY LOSSES; HEATING; MAGNETIC FIELDS; MAGNETIC RECONNECTION; PLASMA; RESOLUTION; SHEETS; SPACE; SPACE VEHICLES; TURBULENCE