Effect of binary collisions on electron acceleration in magnetic reconnection

Burge, C.A., MacKinnon, A.L. and Petkaki, P. (2014) Effect of binary collisions on electron acceleration in magnetic reconnection. Astronomy and Astrophysics, 561(A107), (doi: 10.1051/0004-6361/201322199)

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Context. The presence of energetic X-ray sources in the solar corona indicates there are additional transport effects in the acceleration region. A prime method of investigation is to add collisions into models of particle behaviour at the reconnection region.<p></p> Aims. We investigate electron test particle acceleration in a simple model of an X-type reconnection region. In particular, we explore the possibility that collisions will cause electrons to re-enter the acceleration more frequently, in turn causing particles to be accelerated to high energies.<p></p> Methods. The deterministic (Lorentz) description of particle gyration and acceleration has been coupled to a model for the effects of collisions. The resulting equations are solved numerically using Honeycutt’s extension of the RK4 method to stochastic differential equations. This approach ensures a correct description of collisional energy loss and pitch-angle scattering combined with a sufficiently precise description of gyro-motion and acceleration.<p></p> Results. Even with initially mono-energetic electrons, the competition between collisions and acceleration results in a distribution of electron energies. When realistic model parameters are used, electrons achieve X-ray energies. A possible model for coronal hard X-ray sources is indicated. Conclusions. Even in competition with energy losses, pitch-angle scattering results in a small proportion of electrons reaching higher energies than they would in a collisionless situation.<p></p>

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Burge, Ms Christina and MacKinnon, Dr Alexander
Authors: Burge, C.A., MacKinnon, A.L., and Petkaki, P.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Physics and Astronomy
Journal Name:Astronomy and Astrophysics
Publisher:EDP Sciences
ISSN (Online):1432-0746
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2014 ESO
First Published:First published in Astronomy and Astrophysics 561:A107
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
542081Rolling Programme in Solar and Plasma AstrophysicsLyndsay FletcherScience & Technologies Facilities Council (STFC)ST/I001808/1P&A - PHYSICS & ASTRONOMY