EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Particle acceleration in 3D current sheets with magnetic islands: energy, density and pitch angle distributions

Valentina Zharkova and Qian Xia
Valentina Zharkova and Qian Xia
  • University of Northumbria, Faculty of Engineering and Environment, Department of Mathematics and Information Sciences, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom of Great Britain – England, Scotland, Wales (

We will overview particle motion in 3D Harris-type RCSs without and with magnetic islands using particle-in-cell (PIC) method considering the plasma feedback to electromagnetic fields. We evaluate particle energy gains and pitch angle distributions (PADs) of accelerated particles of both changes in different locations inside current sheets as seen under the different directions by a virtual spacecraft passing through. The RCS parameters are considered comparable to heliosphere and solar wind conditions. 

The energy gains and the PADs of particles are shown to change depending on a topology of magnetic fields.  We report separation of electrons from ions at acceleeration in current sheets with strong guiding fields  and formation of transit and bounced beams from the particles of the same charge. The  transit particles are shown to form  bi-directional energetic electron beams (strahls), while bounced particles are mainly account from driopout fluxes in the heliosphere. In topologies with weak guding field strahls are mainly present inside the magneticislands and located closely above/below the X-nullpoints in the inflow regions. As the guiding field becomes larger, the regions with bi-directional strahls are compressed towards small areas in the exhausts of current sheets. Mono-directional strahls with PADS along 0 or 180 degrees are found quasi-parallel to the magnetic field lines near the X-nullpoint due to the dominant Fermi-type magnetic curvature drift acceleration. Meanwhile, high-energy electrons confined inside magnetic islands create PADs about 90◦. 

How to cite: Zharkova, V. and Xia, Q.: Particle acceleration in 3D current sheets with magnetic islands: energy, density and pitch angle distributions, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-10352,, 2021.