Cross-field flow and electric potential in a plasma slab

De Keyser, J.; Echim, M.; Roth, M.

We consider cross-field plasma flow inside a field-aligned plasma slab embedded in a uniform background in a 1-dimensional geometry. This situation may arise, for instance, when long-lasting reconnection pulses inject plasma into the inner magnetosphere. The present paper presents a detailed analysis of the structure of the interfaces that separate the slab from the background plasma on either side; a fully kinetic model is used to do so. Since the velocity shear across both interfaces has opposite signs, and given the typical gyroradius differences between injected and background ions and electrons, the structure of both interfaces can be very different. The behaviour of the slab and its interfaces depends critically on the flow of the plasma transverse to the magnetic field; in particular, it is shown that there are bounds to the flow speed that can be supported by the magnetised plasma. Further complicating the picture is the effect of the potential difference between the slab and its environment.

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De Keyser, J. / Echim, M. / Roth, M.: Cross-field flow and electric potential in a plasma slab. 2013. Copernicus Publications.

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