Effect of binary collisions on electron acceleration in magnetic reconnection
1 School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Glasgow, UK
e-mail: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
2 DAMTP, University of Cambridge, UK
3 MoCA, Monash University, Australia
Accepted: 4 December 2013
Context. The presence of energetic X-ray sources in the solar corona indicates there are additional transport effects in the acceleration region. A prime method of investigation is to add collisions into models of particle behaviour at the reconnection region.
Aims. We investigate electron test particle acceleration in a simple model of an X-type reconnection region. In particular, we explore the possibility that collisions will cause electrons to re-enter the acceleration more frequently, in turn causing particles to be accelerated to high energies.
Methods. The deterministic (Lorentz) description of particle gyration and acceleration has been coupled to a model for the effects of collisions. The resulting equations are solved numerically using Honeycutt’s extension of the RK4 method to stochastic differential equations. This approach ensures a correct description of collisional energy loss and pitch-angle scattering combined with a sufficiently precise description of gyro-motion and acceleration.
Results. Even with initially mono-energetic electrons, the competition between collisions and acceleration results in a distribution of electron energies. When realistic model parameters are used, electrons achieve X-ray energies. A possible model for coronal hard X-ray sources is indicated.
Conclusions. Even in competition with energy losses, pitch-angle scattering results in a small proportion of electrons reaching higher energies than they would in a collisionless situation.
Key words: Sun: corona / Sun: flares / Sun: X-rays, gamma rays / plasmas / acceleration of particles / scattering
© ESO, 2014