Exact Vlasov Solutions of Kinetic Flux Ropes

Monday, 15 December 2014
Chung-Sang Ng, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK, United States
Small-scale magnetic flux ropes have been observed to form within the diffusion region in three-dimensional (3D) kinetic simulations of magnetic reconnection. Such 3D structures and the 2D version of them (plasmoids, secondary islands) could have important dynamical effects on the reconnection physics itself. Small-scale flux ropes have also been observed within the interplanetary space. We have found exact time-steady solutions of kinetic flux ropes by generalizing exact solutions of 2D Bernstein-Greene-Kruskal (BGK) modes in a magnetized plasma with finite magnetic field strength [Ng, Bhattacharjee, and Skiff, Phys. Plasmas 13, 055903 (2006)] to cases with azimuthal magnetic fields so that these structures carry electric current as well as steady electric and magnetic fields. Such fully nonlinear solutions now satisfy exactly the Vlasov-Poisson-Ampere system of equations. Solutions like these could describe small-scale flux ropes observed in reconnection diffusion regions or in the interplanetary space. They are also exact nonlinear solutions that can be used to validate numerical schemes for kinetic simulations.

This work is supported by a National Science Foundation grant PHY-1004357.