Two-Scale Structure of the Electron Dissipation Region during Collisionless Magnetic Reconnection
Publication date: 09 Oct 2007
Authors: Shay, M. A. et al.
Journal: Phys. Rev. Lett.
Copyright: The American Physical SocietyParticle-in-cell simulations of collisionless magnetic reconnection are presented that demonstrate that reconnection remains fast in very large systems. The electron dissipation region develops a distinct two-scale structure along the outflow direction. Consistent with fast reconnection, the length of the electron current layer stabilizes and decreases with decreasing electron mass, approaching the ion inertial length for a proton-electron plasma. Surprisingly, the electrons form a super-Alfvénic outflow jet that remains decoupled from the magnetic field and extends large distances downstream from the x line.