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Graduate Student Seminar - 12/08/2017

"Ion and Electron Energization in Guide Field Reconnection Outflows with Kinetic Riemann Simulations"

by Qile Zhang

Friday, December 8, 2017 -- 12:00 p.m.
Large Conference Room, 1207 Energy Research Facility

Advisor:  Professor James Drake

Abstract: How ions and electrons are energized in magnetic reconnection outflows is an essential topic throughout the heliosphere and is crucial to understanding the explosive space events that have a big impact on our human society. Kinetic Riemann simulations greatly reduce the computational cost of conventional kinetic reconnection simulations. So we use it to explore larger scale and more realistic parameters, in order to understand the particle energization mechanism in the reconnection far downstream outflows. We find that particle energization happens at both rotational discontinuities (RD) and slow shocks (SS) in the reconnection outflows. The mechanism at RD is electromagnetic in nature and that at SS is electrostatic. The energization process is controlled by both the magnetic field configurations and the parallel electric potentials and will be discussed in detail in this talk. We also use Riemann simulations to look at an underexplored low beta regime (beta is the ratio of plasma pressure to magnetic pressure). We find the electron heating to be linearly dependent on upstream temperature and is insignificant compared to the ion heating in this regime.

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