Thin Current Sheets and Associated Electron Heating in Turbulent Space Plasma
2015 (English)In: Astrophysical Journal Letters, ISSN 2041-8205, Vol. 804, no 1, L1Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Intermittent structures, such as thin current sheets, are abundant in turbulent plasmas. Numerical simulations indicate that such current sheets are important sites of energy dissipation and particle heating occurring at kinetic scales. However, direct evidence of dissipation and associated heating within current sheets is scarce. Here, we show a new statistical study of local electron heating within proton-scale current sheets by using high-resolution spacecraft data. Current sheets are detected using the Partial Variance of Increments (PVI) method which identifies regions of strong intermittency. We find that strong electron heating occurs in high PVI (>3) current sheets while no significant heating occurs in low PVI cases (<3), indicating that the former are dominant for energy dissipation. Current sheets corresponding to very high PVI (>5) show the strongest heating and most of the time are consistent with ongoing magnetic reconnection. This suggests that reconnection is important for electron heating and dissipation at kinetic scales in turbulent plasmas.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 804, no 1, L1
acceleration of particles, magnetic fields, magnetic reconnection, plasmas, turbulence
Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-253234DOI: 10.1088/2041-8205/804/1/L1ISI: 000353819400001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-253234DiVA: diva2:824548