Using Direct Laboratory Measurements of Electron Temperature Anisotropy to Identify the Heating Mechanism in Electron-Only Guide Field Magnetic Reconnection

Peiyun Shi, Earl E Scime, M Hasan Barbhuiya, Paul A Cassak, Subash Adhikari, M. Swisdak, Julia Stawarz

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Anisotropic electron heating during electron-only magnetic reconnection with a large guide magnetic field is directly measured in a laboratory plasma through in situ measurements of electron velocity distribution functions. Electron heating preferentially parallel to the magnetic field is localized to one separatrix, and anisotropies of 1.5 are measured. The mechanism for electron energization is identified as the parallel reconnection electric field because of the anisotropic nature of the heating and spatial localization. These characteristics are reproduced in a 2D particle-in-cell simulation and are also consistent with numerous magnetosheath observations. A measured increase in the perpendicular temperature along both separatrices is not reproduced by our 2D simulations. This work has implications for energy partition studies in magnetosheath and laboratory reconnection.
Original languageEnglish
Article number155101
Number of pages7
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number15
Early online date10 Oct 2023
Publication statusPublished - 13 Oct 2023

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