Thursday, June 6, 2013

1306.1050 (Stefano Markidis et al.)

Kinetic Simulations of Plasmoid Chain Dynamics    [PDF]

Stefano Markidis, Pierre Henri, Giovanni Lapenta, Andrey Divin, Martin Goldman, David Newman, Erwin Laure
The dynamics of a plasmoid chain is studied with three dimensional Particle-in-Cell simulations. The evolution of the system with and without a uniform guide field, whose strength is 1/3 the asymptotic magnetic field, is investigated. The plasmoid chain forms by spontaneous magnetic reconnection: the tearing instability rapidly disrupts the initial current sheet generating several small-scale plasmoids, that rapidly grow in size coalescing and kinking. The plasmoid kink is mainly driven by the coalescence process. It is found that the presence of guide field strongly influences the evolution of the plasmoid chain. Without a guide field, a main reconnection site dominates and smaller reconnection regions are included in larger ones, leading to an hierarchical structure of the plasmoid-dominated current sheet. On the contrary in presence of a guide field, plasmoids have approximately the same size and the hierarchical structure does not emerge, a strong core magnetic field develops in the center of the plasmoid in the direction of the existing guide field, and bump-on-tail instability, leading to the formation of electron holes, is detected in proximity of the plasmoids.
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