Plasma Physics Seminar ( Phys 769)

Dr. Seiji Zenitani, GSFC/NASA Goddard Center

Particle Acceleration And Magnetic Dissipation Processes In The Plasma Sheets Of Relativistic Pair Plasmas

We investigate the linear and nonlinear evolution of a relativistic current sheet of pair plasmas by particle-in-cell (PIC) simulations. First we examine two 2D problems: 1) relativistic magnetic reconnection, which features dc particle acceleration around the X-type diffusion region, and 2) the relativistic drift kink instability (RDKI) in the cross-field plane, which features fast magnetic dissipation. Based on these results, we discuss the current sheet evolution in 3D. We also consider a current-aligned magnetic field (the "guide field") and we find that the guide field plays an important role in the late-time development of the current sheet.