The proton pressure tensor as a new proxy of the proton decoupling region in collisionless magnetic reconnection (ADS link, DOI)
Aunai, N.; Retinò, A.; Belmont, G.; Smets, R.; Lavraud, B.; Vaivads, A.
Cluster data is analyzed to test the proton pressure tensor variations as a proxy of the proton decoupling region in collisionless magnetic reconnection. The Hall electric potential well created in the proton decoupling region results in bounce trajectories of the protons which appears as a characteristic variation of one of the in-plane off-diagonal components of the proton pressure tensor in this region. The event studied in this paper is found to be consistent with classical Hall field signatures with a possible 20% guide field. Moreover, correlations between this pressure tensor component, magnetic field and bulk flow are proposed and validated, together with the expected counterstreaming proton distribution functions.