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Peculiarities of the formation of a thin current sheet in the Earth’s magnetosphere

Research paper by V. I. Domrin, H. V. Malova; A. V. Artemyev; A. P. Kropotkin

Indexed on: 01 Dec '16Published on: 01 Nov '16Published in: Cosmic Research



Abstract

Abstract We investigate the process of the self-consistent formation of a thin current sheet with a thickness close to the ion Larmor gyroradius in the presence of decreasing magnetic field’s normal component B n . This behavior is typical of the current sheet of the Earth’s magnetospheric tail during geomagnetic substorms. It has been shown that, in a numerical model of the current sheet, based on the particle-in-cell method, the appearance of self-consistent electric field component E y in the current sheet vicinity can lead to its significant thinning and, eventually, to the formation of a multiscale configuration with a thin current sheet (TCS) in the central region supported by transient particles. The structure of the resulting equilibrium is determined by the initial parameters of the model and by the particle dynamics during the sheet thinning. Under certain conditions, the particle drift in the crossed electric and magnetic fields leads to a significant portion of ions becoming trapped near the neutral sheet and, in this way, to the formation of a wider configuration with an embedded thin current sheet. The population of trapped particles produces diamagnetic negative currents that manifest in the form of negative wings at the periphery of the sheet. Correspondingly, in the direction perpendicular to the sheet, a nonmonotonic coordinate dependence of the magnetic field appears. The mechanisms of the evolution of the current sheet in the Earth’s magnetotail and the formation of a multiscale structure are discussed.AbstractWe investigate the process of the self-consistent formation of a thin current sheet with a thickness close to the ion Larmor gyroradius in the presence of decreasing magnetic field’s normal component B n . This behavior is typical of the current sheet of the Earth’s magnetospheric tail during geomagnetic substorms. It has been shown that, in a numerical model of the current sheet, based on the particle-in-cell method, the appearance of self-consistent electric field component E y in the current sheet vicinity can lead to its significant thinning and, eventually, to the formation of a multiscale configuration with a thin current sheet (TCS) in the central region supported by transient particles. The structure of the resulting equilibrium is determined by the initial parameters of the model and by the particle dynamics during the sheet thinning. Under certain conditions, the particle drift in the crossed electric and magnetic fields leads to a significant portion of ions becoming trapped near the neutral sheet and, in this way, to the formation of a wider configuration with an embedded thin current sheet. The population of trapped particles produces diamagnetic negative currents that manifest in the form of negative wings at the periphery of the sheet. Correspondingly, in the direction perpendicular to the sheet, a nonmonotonic coordinate dependence of the magnetic field appears. The mechanisms of the evolution of the current sheet in the Earth’s magnetotail and the formation of a multiscale structure are discussed.B n nE y y