skip to main content

This content will become publicly available on November 30, 2022

Title: Electron mirror and cyclotron instabilities for solar wind plasma
ABSTRACT The solar wind plasma is characterized by unequal effective kinetic temperatures defined in perpendicular and parallel directions with respect to the ambient magnetic field. For electrons, the excessive perpendicular temperature anisotropy leads to quasi-parallel electromagnetic electron cyclotron (or whistler) instability and aperiodic electron-mirror instability with oblique wave vectors. The present paper carries out a direct side-by-side comparison of quasi-linear (QL) theory and particle-in-cell (PIC) simulation of combined mirror and cyclotron instabilities acting upon the initially anisotropic electron temperatures, and find that the QL theory satisfactorily encapsulates the non-linear aspect of the combined instability effects. However, a discrepancy between the present study and a previous PIC simulation result is also found, which points to the need for further investigation to resolve such an issue.
Authors:
; ; ;
Award ID(s):
1842643
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10325726
Journal Name:
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume:
509
Issue:
3
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
3764 to 3771
ISSN:
0035-8711
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. ABSTRACT Various plasma waves and instabilities are abundantly present in the solar wind plasma, as evidenced by spacecraft observations. Among these, propagating modes and instabilities driven by temperature anisotropies are known to play a significant role in the solar wind dynamics. In situ measurements reveal that the threshold conditions for these instabilities adequately explain the solar wind conditions at large heliocentric distances. This paper pays attention to the combined effects of electron firehose instability driven by excessive parallel electron temperature anisotropy (T⊥e < T∥e) at high beta conditions, and electromagnetic ion cyclotron instability driven by excessive perpendicular proton temperature anisotropy (T⊥i > T∥i). By employing quasilinear kinetic theory based upon the assumption of bi-Maxwellian velocity distribution functions for protons and electrons, the dynamical evolution of the combined instabilities and their mutual interactions mediated by the particles is explored in depth. It is found that while in some cases, the two unstable modes are excited and saturated at distinct spatial and temporal scales, in other cases, the two unstable modes are intermingled such that a straightforward interpretation is not so easy. This shows that when the dynamics of protons and electrons are mutually coupled and when multiple unstable modes are excitedmore »in the system, the dynamical consequences can be quite complex.« less
  2. ABSTRACT This paper formulates a velocity moment-based quasi-linear theory that combines the impacts of weakly unstable proton–cyclotron- (or, equivalently, electromagnetic ion cyclotron) and proton-mirror instabilities on the solar wind plasma initially characterized by an excessive perpendicular proton temperature anisotropy. The present formalism is an alternative to the existing model in that the weakly unstable modes are characterized by analytical formalism that involves the assumption of weak growth rate and/or fluid-theoretical dispersion relation, in place of numerical root-finding method based on the transcendental plasma dispersion function. This results in an efficient numerical platform for analyzing the quasi-linear development of the said instabilities. Such a formalism may be useful in the larger context of global solar wind modelling effort where an efficient calculation of self-consistent wave–particle interaction process is called for. A direct comparison with spacecraft observations of solar wind proton data distribution shows that the present weak growth rate formalism of quasi-linear calculation produces results that are consistent with the observation.
  3. Understanding the nature and characteristics of high-frequency waves inside a flux rope may be important as the wave-particle interaction is important for charged-particle energization and the ensuing dissipation process. We analyze waves generated by an electron beam in a crater-shaped magnetic flux rope observed by MMS spacecraft on the dawnside tailward magnetopause. In this MMS observation, a depression of magnetic field, or a crater, of ∼100 km is located at the center of the magnetic flux rope of ∼650 km. There exist parallel and perpendicular electrostatic wave modes inside the depression of the magnetic field at the center of the flux rope, and they are distinguished by their locations and frequencies. The parallel mode exists at the center of the magnetic depression and its power spectrum peaks below F ce (electron cyclotron frequency). In contrast, the perpendicular mode exists in the outer region associated with the magnetic depression, and its power spectrum peaks near F ce . The linear analysis of kinetic instability using a generalized dispersion solver shows that the parallel mode can be generated by the electron beam of 5,000 km/s. They can thermalize electrons ≲100 eV effectively. However, the generation mechanism of the perpendicular mode is not clear yet, which requiresmore »further study.« less
  4. Abstract The proton–alpha drift instability is a possible mechanism of the alpha-particle deceleration and the resulting proton heating in the solar wind. We present hybrid numerical simulations of this instability with particle-in-cell ions and a quasi-neutralizing electron fluid for typical conditions at 1 au. For the parameters used in this paper, we find that fast magnetosonic unstable modes propagate only in the direction opposite to the alpha-particle drift and do not produce the perpendicular proton heating necessary to accelerate the solar wind. Alfvén modes propagate in both directions and heat the protons perpendicularly to the mean magnetic field. Despite being driven by the alpha temperature anisotropy, the Alfvén instability also extracts the energy from the bulk motion of the alpha particles. In the solar wind, the instabilities operate in a turbulent ambient medium. We show that the turbulence suppresses the Alfvén instability but the perpendicular proton heating persists. Unlike a static nonuniform background, the turbulence does not invert the sense of the proton heating associated with the fast magnetosonic instability and it remains preferentially parallel.
  5. Context. Magnetic reconnection plays a fundamental role in plasma dynamics under many different conditions, from space and astrophysical environments to laboratory devices. High-resolution in situ measurements from space missions allow naturally occurring reconnection processes to be studied in great detail. Alongside direct measurements, numerical simulations play a key role in the investigation of the fundamental physics underlying magnetic reconnection, also providing a testing ground for current models and theory. The choice of an adequate plasma model to be employed in numerical simulations, while also compromising with computational cost, is crucial for efficiently addressing the problem under study. Aims. We consider a new plasma model that includes a refined electron response within the “hybrid-kinetic framework” (fully kinetic protons and fluid electrons). The extent to which this new model can reproduce a full-kinetic description of 2D reconnection, with particular focus on its robustness during the nonlinear stage, is evaluated. Methods. We perform 2D simulations of magnetic reconnection with moderate guide field by means of three different plasma models: (i) a hybrid-Vlasov-Maxwell model with isotropic, isothermal electrons, (ii) a hybrid-Vlasov-Landau-fluid (HVLF) model where an anisotropic electron fluid is equipped with a Landau-fluid closure, and (iii) a full-kinetic model. Results. When compared to themore »full-kinetic case, the HVLF model effectively reproduces the main features of magnetic reconnection, as well as several aspects of the associated electron microphysics and its feedback onto proton dynamics. This includes the global evolution of magnetic reconnection and the local physics occurring within the so-called electron-diffusion region, as well as the evolution of species’ pressure anisotropy. In particular, anisotropy-driven instabilities (such as fire-hose, mirror, and cyclotron instabilities) play a relevant role in regulating electrons’ anisotropy during the nonlinear stage of magnetic reconnection. As expected, the HVLF model captures all these features, except for the electron-cyclotron instability.« less