Exact Vlasov-Maxwell equilibria for asymmetric current sheets
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The NASA Magnetospheric Multiscale mission has made in-situ diffusion region and kinetic-scale resolution measurements of asymmetric magnetic reconnection for the first time [Burch et al., 2016], in the Earth’s magnetopause. The principal theoretical tool currently used to model collisionless asymmetric reconnection is particle-in-cell simulations. Many particle-in-cell simulations of asymmetric collisionless reconnection start from an asymmetric Harris-type magnetic field, but with distribution functions that are not exact equilibrium solutions of the Vlasov equation. We present new and exact equilibrium solutions of the Vlasov-Maxwell system that are self-consistent with one-dimensional asymmetric current sheets, with an asymmetric Harris-type magnetic field profile, plus a constant non-zero guide field. The distribution functions can be represented as a combination of four shifted Maxwellian distribution functions. This equilibrium describes a magnetic field configuration with more freedom than the previously known exact solution [Alpers, 1969], and has different bulk flow properties.
Allanson , O , Wilson , F , Neukirch , T , Liu , Y-H & Hodgson , J D B 2017 , ' Exact Vlasov-Maxwell equilibria for asymmetric current sheets ' Geophysical Research Letters , vol Early View . DOI: 10.1002/2017GL074168
Geophysical Research Letters
© 2017. The Authors. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Funding: Science and Technology Facilities Council Consolidated Grant Nos. ST/K000950/1 and ST/N000609/1 (O.A., T.N., J.D.B.H.and F.W.), the Science and Technology Facilities Council Doctoral Training Grant No. ST/K502327/1 (O.A. and J.D.B.H), the Natural Environment Research Council Grant No. NE/P017274/1 (Rad-Sat) (O.A.)
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