Kinetic aspects of the ion current layer at the center of a reconnection outflow exhaust near the X-type region are investigated by a two-dimensional particle-in-cell (PIC) simulation. The layer consists of magnetized electrons and unmagnetized ions that carry a perpendicular electric current. The ion fluid appears to be nonideal, sub-Alfvénic, and nondissipative. The ion velocity distribution functions contain multiple populations, such as global Speiser ions, local Speiser ions, and trapped ions. The particle motion of the local Speiser ions in an appropriately rotated coordinate system explains the ion fluid properties very well. The trapped ions are the first demonstration of the regular orbits in the chaotic particle dynamics [Chen and Palmadesso, J. Geophys. Res. 91, 1499 (1986)] in self-consistent PIC simulations. They would be observational signatures in the ion current layer near reconnection sites.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Condensed Matter Physics