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Graduate Student Seminar - 12/04/2015

"Electron Energization in Magnetic Reconnection Outflows with Kinetic Riemann Simulations"

by Qile Zhang

Friday, December 4, 2015 -- 12:00 p.m.
Large Conference Room, 1207 Energy Research Facility

Advisor:  Professor James Drake

Magnetic reconnection is one of the most important plasma energization processes. How electrons are heated during magnetic reconnection in the corona has been a basic puzzle for a long time. Here we carry out kinetic Riemann simulations to explore electron energization including its dependence on parameters. Riemann simulations, with its simple magnetic geometry, facilitate the study of the reconnection outflow far downstream of reconnection point in much more detail than is possible with conventional reconnection simulations.  We find that the electron temperature in the exhaust increases and approaches a constant, suggesting that electron heating in the exhausts can extend to macroscopic scales in the corona.  We develop a model based on adiabatic invariants to understand the heating as well as the electron energy distribution.  Its agreement and disagreement to simulations will be presented.  And we discover that instabilities in the exhaust will lead to temporal trapping of electrons and breakdown of adiabatic invariants used in the model.  Possible corrections to the model will be discussed. 

For additional information about the IREAP Graduate Student Seminars, contact Peter Megson.

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