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  Non-thermal electron velocity distribution functions due to 3D kinetic magnetic reconnection for solar coronal plasma conditions

Yao, X., Muñoz Sepúlveda, P. A., & Büchner, J. (2022). Non-thermal electron velocity distribution functions due to 3D kinetic magnetic reconnection for solar coronal plasma conditions. Physics of Plasmas, 29(2): 022104. doi:10.1063/5.0061151.

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 Creators:
Yao, Xin1, Author              
Muñoz Sepúlveda, Patricio A.1, Author              
Büchner, Jörg1, Author              
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1Department Sun and Heliosphere, Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Max Planck Society, ou_1832289              

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 Abstract: Magnetic reconnection can convert magnetic energy into kinetic energy of non-thermal electron beams. Those accelerated electrons can, in turn, cause radio emission in astrophysical plasma environments, such as solar flares via micro-instabilities. The properties of the electron velocity distribution functions (EVDFs) of those non-thermal beams generated by reconnection are, however, still not well understood, in particular, properties that are necessary conditions for some relevant micro-instabilities. We aim at characterizing the EVDFs generated in 3D magnetic reconnection by means of fully kinetic particle-in-cell code simulations. In particular, our goal is to identify the possible sources of free energy offered by the generated EVDFs and their dependence on the strength of the guide field. By applying a machine learning algorithm on the EVDFs, we find that (1) electron beams with positive gradients in their 1D parallel (to the local magnetic field direction) velocity distribution functions are generated in both diffusion region and separatrices. (2) Electron beams with positive gradients in their perpendicular (to the local magnetic field direction) velocity distribution functions are observed in the diffusion region and outflow region near the reconnection midplane. In particular, perpendicular crescent-shaped EVDFs (in the perpendicular velocity space) are mainly observed in the diffusion region. (3) As the guide field strength increases, the number of locations with EVDFs featuring a perpendicular source of free energy significantly decreases. The formation of non-thermal electron beams in the field-aligned direction is mainly due to magnetized and adiabatic electrons, while in the direction perpendicular to the local magnetic field, it is attributed to unmagnetized electrons.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2022
 Publication Status: Published online
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 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Type: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1063/5.0061151
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Title: Physics of Plasmas
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: Melville, NY : AIP Publishing
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 29 (2) Sequence Number: 022104 Start / End Page: - Identifier: ISSN: 1070-664X
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/1000000000318080