Preferential acceleration of heavy ions in the reconnection outflow region
Drift and surfatron ion acceleration
LPC2E/CNRS University of Orléans, UMR7328,
2 Space Research Institute, RAS, 117997 Moscow, Russia
3 Department of Physics, University della Calabria, 87036 Arcavacata di Rende, Italy
4 Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, USA
5 Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), 252-5210 Sagamihara, Japan
Accepted: 10 December 2013
Context. Many observations show that heating in the solar corona should be more effective for heavy ions than for protons. Moreover, the efficiency of particle heating also seems to be larger for a larger particle electric charge. The transient magnetic reconnection is one of the most natural mechanisms of charged particle acceleration in the solar corona. However, the role of this process in preferential acceleration of heavy ions has still yet to be investigated.
Aims. In this paper, we consider charged particle acceleration in the reconnection outflow region. We investigate the dependence of efficiency of various mechanisms of particle acceleration on particle charge and mass.
Methods. We take into account recent in situ spacecraft observations of the nonlinear magnetic waves that have originated in the magnetic reconnection. We use analytical estimates and test-particle trajectories to study resonant and nonresonant particle acceleration by these nonlinear waves.
Results. We show that resonant acceleration of heavy ions by nonlinear magnetic waves in the reconnection outflow region is more effective for heavy ions and/or for ions with a larger electric charge. Nonresonant acceleration can be considered as a combination of particle reflections from the front of the nonlinear waves. Energy gain for a single reflection is proportional to the particle mass, while the maximum possible gain of energy corresponds to the classical betatron heating.
Conclusions. Small-scale transient magnetic reconnections produce nonlinear magnetic waves propagating away from the reconnection region. These waves can effectively accelerate heavy ions in the solar corona via resonant and nonresonnat regimes of interactions. This mechanism of acceleration is more effective for ions with a larger mass and/or with a larger electric charge.
Key words: magnetic reconnection / acceleration of particles / Sun: corona
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