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Axisymmetric particle-in-cell simulations of diamagnetic-cavity formulation in vacuum

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1 Author(s)
Gisler, Galen ; Los Alamos Nat. Lab., NM, USA

Axisymmetric simulations of the expansion of a hot plasma suddenly introduced into a vacuum containing a weak magnetic field were performed using an electromagnetic particle-in-cell code. Both uniform and gradient fields have been used, with the simulation axis along the principal field direction. The formation of a diamagnetic cavity requires an initial plasma β>1; as the expansion proceeds, β diminishes, and the field eventually recovers. The maximum spatial extent of the cavity and its duration can be obtained from simple dynamical considerations. Field-aligned ion acceleration behind the electron front is observed in all field geometries and strengths. In the case of expansion into a divergent field, the plasma is found to move down the field gradient by ambipolar diffusion. These simulations are relevant to active release experiments in the Earth's magnetosphere, to pellet ablation experiments, and to the naturally occurring diamagnetic bubbles observed at the Earth's foreshock

Published in:

Plasma Science, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:17 ,  Issue: 2 )