Acceleration and pickup ring of energetic electrons observed in relativistic magnetic reconnection simulations

Ping, Y. L. and Zhong, J. Y. and Wang, X. G. and Sheng, Z. M. and Zhao, G. (2017) Acceleration and pickup ring of energetic electrons observed in relativistic magnetic reconnection simulations. Astrophysical Journal, 849 (2). 137. ISSN 0004-637X

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    Abstract

    Pickup ring of energetic electrons found in relativistic magnetic reconnection (MR) driven by two relativistic intense femtosecond laser pulses is investigated by particle simulation in 3D geometry. Magnetic reconnection processes and configurations are characterized by plasma current density distributions at different axial positions. Two helical structures associated with the circular polarization of laser pulses break down in the reconnection processes to form a current sheet between them, where energetic electrons are found to pile up and the outflow relativistic electron jets are observed. In the field line diffusion region, electrons are accelerated to multi-MeV with a flatter power-law spectrum due to MR. The development of the pickup ring of energetic electrons is strongly dependent upon laser peak intensities.