On the electron diffusion region in planar, asymmetric, systems
Published in Geophysical Research Letters DOI : http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/2014GL061586
Hesse, Michael; Aunai, Nicolas; Sibeck, David; Birn, Joachim
simulations and analytical theory are employed to study the electron diffusion region in asymmetric reconnection, which is taking place in planar configurations without a guide field. The analysis presented here focuses on the nature of the local reconnection electric field and on differences from symmetric configurations. Further emphasis is on the complex structure of the electron distribution in the diffusion region, which is generated by the mixing of particles from different sources. We find that the electric field component that is directly responsible for flux transport is provided not by electron pressure-based, “quasi-viscous,” terms but by inertial terms. The quasi-viscous component is shown to be critical in that it is necessary to sustain the required overall electric field pattern in the immediate neighborhood of the reconnection X line.
Theory and Modeling for the Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission
Published in Space Science Reviews DOI : 10.1007/s11214-014-0078-y
M. Hesse, N. Aunai, J. Birn, P. Cassak, R. E. Denton, J. F. Drake, T. Gombosi, M. Hoshino, W. Matthaeus, D. Sibeck, S. Zenitani
The Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission will provide measurement capabilities, which will exceed those of earlier and even contemporary missions by orders of magnitude. MMS will, for the first time, be able to measure directly and with sufficient resolution key features of the magnetic reconnection process, down to the critical electron scales, which need to be resolved to understand how reconnection works. Owing to the complexity and extremely high spatial resolution required, no prior measurements exist, which could be employed to guide the definition of measurement requirements, and consequently set essential parameters for mission planning and execution. Insight into expected details of the reconnection process could hence only been obtained from theory and modern kinetic modeling. This situation was recognized early on by MMS leadership, which supported the formation of a fully integrated Theory and Modeling Team (TMT). The TMT participated in all aspects of mission planning, from the proposal stage to individual aspects of instrument performance characteristics. It provided and continues to provide to the mission the latest insights regarding the kinetic physics of magnetic reconnection, as well as associated particle acceleration and turbulence, assuring that, to the best of modern knowledge, the mission is prepared to resolve the inner workings of the magnetic reconnection process. The present paper provides a summary of key recent results or reconnection research by TMT members.
On the relationship between quadrupolar magnetic field and collisionless reconnection
Published in Physics of Plasmas DOI : http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4885097
R. Smets, N. Aunai, G. Belmont, C. Boniface and J. Fuchs
Using hybrid simulations, we investigate the onset of fast reconnection between two cylindrical magnetic shells initially close to each other. This initial state mimics the plasma structure in High Energy Density Plasmas induced by a laser-target interaction and the associated self-generated magnetic field. We clearly observe that the classical quadrupolar structure of the out-of-plane magnetic field appears prior to the reconnection onset. Furthermore, a parametric study reveals that, with a non-coplanar initial magnetic topology, the reconnection onset is delayed and possibly suppressed. The relation between the out-of-plane magnetic field and the out-of-plane electric field is discussed.
BV technique for investigating 1-D interfaces
Published in Journal of Geophysical Research
Dorville Nicolas, Belmont Gerard, Rezeau Laurence, Aunai Nicolas Retinò, Alessandro
To investigate the internal structure of the magnetopause with spacecraft data, it is crucial to be able to determine its normal direction and to convert the measured time series into spatial profiles. We propose here a new single-spacecraft method, called the BV method, to reach these two objectives. Its name indicates that the method uses a combination of the magnetic field (B) and velocity (V) data. The method is tested on simulation and on Cluster data, and a short overview of the possible products is given. We discuss its assumptions and show that it can bring a valuable improvement with respect to previous methods.
The relation between reconnected flux, the parallel electric field, and the reconnection rate in a three-dimensional kinetic simulation of magnetic reconnection
Published in Physics of Plasmas
D.E. Wendel, D.K. Olson, M. Hesse, N. Aunai, M. Kuznetsova, H. Karimabadi, W. Daughton and M. L. Adrian
We investigate the distribution of parallel electric fields and their relationship to the location and rate of magnetic reconnection in a large particle-in-cell simulation of 3D turbulent magnetic reconnection with open boundary conditions. The simulation’s guide field geometry inhibits the formation of simple topological features such as null points. Therefore, we derive the location of potential changes in magnetic connectivity by finding the field lines that experience a large relative change between their endpoints, i.e., the quasi-separatrix layer. We find a good correspondence between the locus of changes in magnetic connectivity or the quasi-separatrix layer and the map of large gradients in the integrated parallel electric field (or quasi-potential). Furthermore, we investigate the distribution of the parallel electric field along the reconnecting field lines. We find the reconnection rate is controlled by only the low-amplitude, zeroth and first–order trends in the parallel electric field while the contribution from fluctuations of the parallel electric field, such as electron holes, is negligible. The results impact the determination of reconnection sites and reconnection rates in models and in situ spacecraft observations of 3D turbulent reconnection. It is difficult through direct observation to isolate the loci of the reconnection parallel electric field amidst the large amplitude fluctuations. However, we demonstrate that a positive slope of the running sum of the parallel electric field along the field line as a function of field line length indicates where reconnection is occurring along the field line.
Nous proposons deux sujets de stage de Master 2 pour le printemps 2014. Ces deux sujets ont pour thématique la physique des plasmas astrophysiques.
- stage 1 : La nongyrotropie électronique permet-elle d’identifier un site de reconnexion ?
- stage 2 : Equilibre cinétique : quelle condition initiale pour la reconnexion magnétique ?
Les deux stages ont une forte composante “simulation numérique”, le second demande un plus gros effort de programmation (fortran et C) car il requiert de modifier d’avantage le code de simulation. Il est peut-être également un peu plus théorique sur le plan conceptuel que le second stage. Le premier stage en revanche comporte également un volet observationnel que le second n’a pas. Les deux stages sont des sujets actuels de recherche, ils sont suffisament ciblés pour garantir un résultat (pas d’inconnue sur le plan technique).
Note importante : Une thèse au sein de l’équipe est possible sur les mêmes thématiques, avec un financement ANR déjà acquis.
Electron nongyrotropy in the context of collisionless magnetic reconnection
Published in Physics of Plasmas
Nicolas Aunai, Michael Hesse
Collisionless magnetized plasmas have the tendency to isotropize their velocity distribution function around the local magnetic field direction, i.e., to be gyrotropic, unless some spatial and/or temporal fluctuations develop at the particle gyroscales. Electron gyroscale inhomogeneities are well known to develop during the magnetic reconnection process. Nongyrotropic electron velocity distribution functions have been observed to play a key role in the dissipative process breaking the field line connectivity. In this paper, we present a new method to quantify the deviation of a particle population from gyrotropy. The method accounts for the full 3D shape of the distribution and its analytical formulation allows fast numerical computation. Regions associated with a significant degree of nongyrotropy are shown, as well as the kinetic origin of the nongyrotropy and the fluid signature it is associated with. Using the result of 2.5D Particle-In-Cell simulations of magnetic reconnection in symmetric and asymmetric configurations, it is found that neither the reconnection site nor the topological boundaries are generally associated with a maximized degree of nongyrotropy. Nongyrotropic regions do not correspond to a specific fluid behavior as equivalent nongyrotropy is found to extend over the electron dissipation region as well as in non-dissipative diamagnetic drift layers. The localization of highly nongyrotropic regions in numerical models and their correlation with other observable quantities can, however, improve the characterization of spatial structures explored by spacecraft missions.
Last March/April I have written 3 research proposals to fund my next post doc at IRAP, Toulouse, France. I got some results, here they are:
CNES: I was selected for a CNES fellowship, duration is two years.
AXA: My proposal has been selected by AXA Research Funds for a 2 years duration. They fund 30 proposal per year world wide, global selection rate is 10-15%. Here is a list of the selected proposals.
ANR Retour Postdoc: My proposal is among the 34 selected to be funded out of the 149 multidisciplinary applications. Duration of the project is 3 years, including the salary of a phd student. (Edit: 08/29)
Aspects of collisionless magnetic reconnection in asymmetric systems
Published in Physics of Plasmas
Michael Hesse, Nicolas Aunai, Seiji Zenitani, Maria Kuznetsova and Joachim Birn
Asymmetric reconnection is being investigated by means of particle-in-cell simulations. The research has two foci: the direction of the reconnection line in configurations with nonvanishing magnetic fields; and the question why reconnection can be faster if a guide field is added to an otherwise unchanged asymmetric configuration. We find that reconnection prefers a direction, which maximizes the available magnetic energy, and show that this direction coincides with the bisection of the angle between the asymptotic magnetic fields. Regarding the difference in reconnection rates between planar and guide field models, we demonstrate that a guide field can provide essential confinement for particles in the reconnection region, which the weaker magnetic field in one of the inflow directions cannot necessarily provide.
Influence of the dissipation mechanism on collisionless magnetic reconnection in symmetric and asymmetric current layers
Published in Physics of Plasmas
Nicolas Aunai, Michael Hesse, Carrie Black, Rebekah Evans, Maria Kuznetsova
Numerical studies implementing different versions of the collisionless Ohm’s law have shown a reconnection rate insensitive to the nature of the non-ideal mechanism occurring at the X line, as soon as the Hall effect is operating. Consequently, the dissipation mechanism occurring in the vicinity of the reconnection site in collisionless systems is usually thought not to have a dynamical role beyond the violation of the frozen-in condition. The interpretation of recent studies has, however, led to the opposite conclusion that the electron scale dissipative processes play an important dynamical role in preventing an elongation of the electron layer from throttling the reconnection rate. This work re-visits this topic with a new approach. Instead of focusing on the extensively studied symmetric configuration, we aim to investigate whether the macroscopic properties of collisionless reconnection are affected by the dissipation physics in asymmetric configurations, for which the effect of the Hall physics is substantially modified. Because it includes all the physical scales a priori important for collisionless reconnection (Hall and ion kinetic physics) and also because it allows one to change the nature of the non-ideal electron scale physics, we use a (two dimensional) hybrid model. The effects of numerical, resistive, and hyper-resistive dissipation are studied. In a first part, we perform simulations of symmetric reconnection with different non-ideal electron physics. We show that the model captures the already known properties of collisionless reconnection. In a second part, we focus on an asymmetric configuration where the magnetic field strength and the density are both asymmetric. Our results show that contrary to symmetric reconnection, the asymmetric model evolution strongly depends on the nature of the mechanism which breaks the field line connectivity. The dissipation occurring at the X line plays an important role in preventing the electron current layer from elongating and forming plasmoids.