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Two-Scale Structure of the Electron Dissipation Region during Collisionless Magnetic Reconnection

Two-Scale Structure of the Electron Dissipation Region during Collisionless Magnetic Reconnection

Publication date: 10 October 2007

Authors: Shay, M. A. et al.

Journal: Phys. Rev. Lett.
Volume: 99
Issue: 15
ID: 155002
Year: 2007

Copyright: The American Physical Society

Particle-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.

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