July 27, 2015 to August 21, 2015
Nordita, Stockholm
Europe/Stockholm timezone

Evidence of magnetic field switch-off in PIC simulations of collisionless magnetic reconnection with guide field

Aug 12, 2015, 2:50 PM
FD5 (FD5)



Oral Workshop, August 10-14 Post-noon III


Dr Maria Elena Innocenti (University of Leuven, Belgium)


We describe here the first observation of switch-off of the in plane tangential component of the magnetic field in Particle In Cell (PIC) simulations of magnetic reconnection, a situation reminding of Petschek’s switch-off. Switch-off is obtained through a slow shock / rotational discontinuity compound structure. Two external slow shocks located in correspondence of the separatrices reduce the tangential component of the magnetic field, but not to zero. Two anomalous rotational discontinuities in the internal part of the exhausts then perform the final switch-off. Both the slow shocks and the rotational discontinuities are characterized as such through the analysis of their Rankine-Hugoniot jump conditions. Large domain sizes and long simulated times are needed to observe the development of the structures, which are disrupted at earlier times by the presence of plasmoids. A moderate guide field is used to suppress the development of the firehose instability in the exhaust.

Primary authors

Prof. David Newman (University of Colorado, USA) Prof. Giovanni Lapenta (University of Leuven, Belgium) Dr Maria Elena Innocenti (University of Leuven, Belgium) Prof. Martin Goldman (University of Colorado, USA) Prof. Stefano Markidis (KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden)

Presentation materials