Electron energy dissipation in a magnetotail reconnection region

The four Magnetospheric Multiscale spacecraft encountered a reconnection region in the Earth's magnetospheric tail on 11 July 2017. Previous publications have reported characteristics of the electron diffusion region, including its aspect ratio, the reconnection electric field, plasma wave generation from electron beams in its vicinity, and energetic particles in the Earthward exhaust. This paper reports on the investigation of conversion of electromagnetic energy to electron kinetic energy (by J·E) and the ensuing conversion of electron beam energy to electron thermal energy via the pressure–strain interaction. The main result is that omnidirectional, compressive dissipation of electron energy dominates in the positive J·E region, while incompressive parallel dissipation dominates in the inflow region where J·E is small. The existence of parallel electric fields in the inflow region supports previous suggestions that electron trapping by these fields contributes to the parallel dissipation. All of the results are reproduced quantitatively within a factor of two with a 2.5-D particle-in-cell simulation.
This article was originally published in Physics of Plasmas. The version of record is available at: https://doi.org/10.1063/5.0153628. © 2023 Author(s).
energy conversion, magnetospheric dynamics, spacecrafts, magnetic reconnection, particle-in-cell method, plasma heating, electron kinetic energy
J. L. Burch, K. J. Genestreti, S. V. Heuer, A. Chasapis, R. B. Torbert, D. J. Gershman, R. Bandyopadhyay, C. J. Pollock, W. H. Matthaeus, T. K. M. Nakamura, J. Egedal; Electron energy dissipation in a magnetotail reconnection region. Phys. Plasmas 1 August 2023; 30 (8): 082903. https://doi.org/10.1063/5.0153628