Electron dynamics surrounding the X-line in asymmetric magnetic reconnection [CL]


Electron dynamics surrounding the X-line in magnetopause-type asymmetric reconnection is investigated using a two-dimensional particle-in-cell simulation. We study electron properties of three characteristic regions in the vicinity of the X-line. The fluid properties, velocity distribution functions (VDFs), and orbits are studied and cross-compared. In the low-$\beta$ side of the X-line, the normal electric field enhances the electron meandering motion from the high-$\beta$ side. The motion leads to a crescent-shaped component in the electron VDF, in agreement with recent studies. In the high-$\beta$ side of the X-line, the magnetic field line is so stretched in the third dimension that its curvature radius is comparable with typical electron Larmor radius. The electron motion becomes nonadiabatic, and therefore the electron idealness is no longer expected to hold. Around the middle of the outflow regions, the electron nonidealness is coincident with the region of the nonadiabatic motion. Finally, we introduce a finite-time mixing fraction (FTMF) to evaluate electron mixing. The FTMF marks the low-$\beta$ side of the X-line, where the nonideal energy dissipation occurs.

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S. Zenitani, H. Hasegawa and T. Nagai
Fri, 24 Feb 17

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