Fully kinetic simulations of magnetic reconnction in semi-collisional plasmas

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The influence of Coulomb collisions on the dynamics of magnetic reconnection is examined using fully kinetic simulations with a Monte-Carlo treatment of the Fokker-Planck collision operator. This powerful first-principles approach offers a bridge between kinetic and fluid regimes, which may prove useful for understanding the applicability of various fluid models. In order to lay the necessary groundwork, the collision algorithm is first carefully bench marked for a homogeneous plasma against theoretical predictions for beam-plasma interactions and electrical resistivity. Next, the collisional decay of a current layer is examined as a function of guide field, allowing direct comparisons with transport theory ... continued below

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Daughton, William S; Roytershteyn, Vadim S; Albright, Brian J; Yin, Lin; Bowers, Kevin J & Karimabadi, Homa January 1, 2009.

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The influence of Coulomb collisions on the dynamics of magnetic reconnection is examined using fully kinetic simulations with a Monte-Carlo treatment of the Fokker-Planck collision operator. This powerful first-principles approach offers a bridge between kinetic and fluid regimes, which may prove useful for understanding the applicability of various fluid models. In order to lay the necessary groundwork, the collision algorithm is first carefully bench marked for a homogeneous plasma against theoretical predictions for beam-plasma interactions and electrical resistivity. Next, the collisional decay of a current layer is examined as a function of guide field, allowing direct comparisons with transport theory for the parallel and perpendicular resistivity as well as the thermoelectric force. Finally, the transition between collisional and collision less reconnection is examined in neutral sheet geometry. For modest Lundquist numbers S {approx}< 1000, a distinct transition is observed when the thickness of the Sweet-Parker layers falls below the ion inertia length {delta}{sub sp} {approx}< d,. At higher Lundquist number, deviations from the Sweet-Parker scaling are observed due to the growth of plasmoids (secondary-islands) within the elongated resistive layer. In certain cases, this instability leads to the onset of fast reconnection sooner than expected from {delta}{sub sp} {approx} d, condition. After the transition to fast reconnection, elongated electron current layers are formed which are unstable to the formation of new plasmoids. The structure and time-dependence of the electron diffusion region in these semi-collisional regimes is profoundly different than reported in two-fluid simulations.

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  • Journal Name: Physics of Plasmas

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  • Report No.: LA-UR-09-00706
  • Report No.: LA-UR-09-706
  • Grant Number: AC52-06NA25396
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 956381
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc925831

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  • January 1, 2009

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  • Nov. 13, 2016, 7:26 p.m.

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  • Dec. 9, 2016, 11:32 p.m.

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Daughton, William S; Roytershteyn, Vadim S; Albright, Brian J; Yin, Lin; Bowers, Kevin J & Karimabadi, Homa. Fully kinetic simulations of magnetic reconnction in semi-collisional plasmas, article, January 1, 2009; [New Mexico]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc925831/: accessed July 16, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.