The effects of strong temperature anisotropy on the kinetic structure of collisionless slow shocks and reconnection exhausts. I. Particle-in-cell simulations

Liu, Yi-Hsin; Drake, J. F.; Swisdak, M.
June 2011
Physics of Plasmas;Jun2011, Vol. 18 Issue 6, p062110
Academic Journal
A 2-D Riemann problem is designed to study the development and dynamics of the slow shocks that are thought to form at the boundaries of reconnection exhausts. Simulations are carried out for varying ratios of normal magnetic field to the transverse upstream magnetic field (i.e., propagation angle with respect to the upstream magnetic field). When the angle is sufficiently oblique, the simulations reveal a large firehose-sense (P∥>P⊥) temperature anisotropy in the downstream region, accompanied by a transition from a coplanar slow shock to a non-coplanar rotational mode. In the downstream region the firehose stability parameter &eh;=1-μ0(P∥-P⊥)/B2 tends to plateau at 0.25. This balance arises from the competition between counterstreaming ions, which drive &eh; down, and the scattering due to ion inertial scale waves, which are driven unstable by the downstream rotational wave. At very oblique propagating angles, 2-D turbulence also develops in the downstream region.


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