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Evidence for Secondary Flux Rope Generated by the Electron Kelvin-Helmholtz Instability in a Magnetic Reconnection Diffusion Region
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2018 (English)In: Physical Review Letters, ISSN 0031-9007, E-ISSN 1079-7114, Vol. 120, no 7, article id 075101Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Secondary flux ropes are suggested to play important roles in energy dissipation and particle acceleration during magnetic reconnection. However, their generation mechanism is not fully understood. In this Letter, we present the first direct evidence that a secondary flux rope was generated due to the evolution of an electron vortex, which was driven by the electron Kelvin-Helmholtz instability in an ion diffusion region as observed by the Magnetospheric Multiscale mission. The subion scale (less than the ion inertial length) flux rope was embedded within the electron vortex, which contained a secondary electron diffusion region at the trailing edge of the flux rope. We propose that intense electron shear flow produced by reconnection generated the electron Kelvin-Helmholtz vortex, which induced a secondary reconnection in the exhaust of the primary X line and then led to the formation of the flux rope. This result strongly suggests that secondary electron Kelvin-Helmholtz instability is important for reconnection dynamics.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
AMER PHYSICAL SOC , 2018. Vol. 120, no 7, article id 075101
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Physical Sciences
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URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-223795DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.120.075101ISI: 000424912000010Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85042160997OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-223795DiVA, id: diva2:1188274
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QC 20180307

Available from: 2018-03-07 Created: 2018-03-07 Last updated: 2018-03-07Bibliographically approved

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Lindqvist, Per-Arne

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