Relativistic electrons produced by reconnecting electric fields in a laser-driven bench-top solar flare

J. Y. Zhong, J. Lin, Y.T. Li, X. Wang, Y. Li, K. Zhang, D. W. Yuan, Y. L. Ping, H. G. Wei, J. Q. Wang, L. N. Su, F. Li, B. Han, G. Q. Liao, C. L. Yin, Y Fang, X. Yuan, C Wang, J. R. Sun, G. Y. Liang & 8 others F. L. Wang, Y. K. Ding, X. T. He, Q. J. Zhu, Zheng-Ming Sheng, G. Li, G. Zhao, J. Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Laboratory experiments have been carried out to model the magnetic reconnection process in a solar flare with powerful lasers. Relativistic electrons with energy up to megaelectronvolts are detected along the magnetic separatrices bounding the reconnection outflow, which exhibit a kappa-like distribution with an effective temperature of ~109 K. The acceleration of non-thermal electrons is found to be more efficient in the case with a guide magnetic field (a component of a magnetic field along the reconnection-induced electric field) than in the case without a guide field. Hardening of the spectrum at energies ≥500 keV is observed in both cases, which remarkably resembles the hardening of hard X-ray and γ-ray spectra observed in many solar flares. This supports a recent proposal that the hardening in the hard X-ray and γ-ray emissions of solar flares is due to a hardening of the source-electron spectrum. We also performed numerical simulations that help examine behaviors of electrons in the reconnection process with the electromagnetic field configurations occurring in the experiments. The trajectories of non-thermal electrons observed in the experiments were well duplicated in the simulations. Our numerical simulations generally reproduce the electron energy spectrum as well, except for the hardening of the electron spectrum. This suggests that other mechanisms such as shock or turbulence may play an important role in the production of the observed energetic electrons.
LanguageEnglish
Article number30
Number of pages14
JournalAstrophysical Journal Supplement
Volume225
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 Aug 2016

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solar flares
seats
electric field
hardening
laser
electron
electric fields
lasers
electrons
electron sources
simulation
gamma ray spectra
magnetic field
energy
magnetic fields
proposals
electromagnetic fields
energy spectra
electromagnetic field
x rays

Keywords

  • laboratory astrophysics
  • magnetic reconnection
  • solar flares
  • general particle-acceleration
  • plasma physics

Cite this

Zhong, J. Y. ; Lin, J. ; Li, Y.T. ; Wang, X. ; Li, Y. ; Zhang, K. ; Yuan, D. W. ; Ping, Y. L. ; Wei, H. G. ; Wang, J. Q. ; Su, L. N. ; Li, F. ; Han, B. ; Liao, G. Q. ; Yin, C. L. ; Fang, Y ; Yuan, X. ; Wang, C ; Sun, J. R. ; Liang, G. Y. ; Wang, F. L. ; Ding, Y. K. ; He, X. T. ; Zhu, Q. J. ; Sheng, Zheng-Ming ; Li, G. ; Zhao, G. ; Zhang, J. / Relativistic electrons produced by reconnecting electric fields in a laser-driven bench-top solar flare. In: Astrophysical Journal Supplement . 2016 ; Vol. 225, No. 2.
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abstract = "Laboratory experiments have been carried out to model the magnetic reconnection process in a solar flare with powerful lasers. Relativistic electrons with energy up to megaelectronvolts are detected along the magnetic separatrices bounding the reconnection outflow, which exhibit a kappa-like distribution with an effective temperature of ~109 K. The acceleration of non-thermal electrons is found to be more efficient in the case with a guide magnetic field (a component of a magnetic field along the reconnection-induced electric field) than in the case without a guide field. Hardening of the spectrum at energies ≥500 keV is observed in both cases, which remarkably resembles the hardening of hard X-ray and γ-ray spectra observed in many solar flares. This supports a recent proposal that the hardening in the hard X-ray and γ-ray emissions of solar flares is due to a hardening of the source-electron spectrum. We also performed numerical simulations that help examine behaviors of electrons in the reconnection process with the electromagnetic field configurations occurring in the experiments. The trajectories of non-thermal electrons observed in the experiments were well duplicated in the simulations. Our numerical simulations generally reproduce the electron energy spectrum as well, except for the hardening of the electron spectrum. This suggests that other mechanisms such as shock or turbulence may play an important role in the production of the observed energetic electrons.",
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author = "Zhong, {J. Y.} and J. Lin and Y.T. Li and X. Wang and Y. Li and K. Zhang and Yuan, {D. W.} and Ping, {Y. L.} and Wei, {H. G.} and Wang, {J. Q.} and Su, {L. N.} and F. Li and B. Han and Liao, {G. Q.} and Yin, {C. L.} and Y Fang and X. Yuan and C Wang and Sun, {J. R.} and Liang, {G. Y.} and Wang, {F. L.} and Ding, {Y. K.} and He, {X. T.} and Zhu, {Q. J.} and Zheng-Ming Sheng and G. Li and G. Zhao and J. Zhang",
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Zhong, JY, Lin, J, Li, YT, Wang, X, Li, Y, Zhang, K, Yuan, DW, Ping, YL, Wei, HG, Wang, JQ, Su, LN, Li, F, Han, B, Liao, GQ, Yin, CL, Fang, Y, Yuan, X, Wang, C, Sun, JR, Liang, GY, Wang, FL, Ding, YK, He, XT, Zhu, QJ, Sheng, Z-M, Li, G, Zhao, G & Zhang, J 2016, 'Relativistic electrons produced by reconnecting electric fields in a laser-driven bench-top solar flare' Astrophysical Journal Supplement , vol. 225, no. 2, 30. https://doi.org/10.3847/0067-0049/225/2/30

Relativistic electrons produced by reconnecting electric fields in a laser-driven bench-top solar flare. / Zhong, J. Y.; Lin, J.; Li, Y.T.; Wang, X.; Li, Y.; Zhang, K.; Yuan, D. W.; Ping, Y. L.; Wei, H. G. ; Wang, J. Q. ; Su, L. N.; Li, F.; Han, B.; Liao, G. Q. ; Yin, C. L.; Fang, Y; Yuan, X.; Wang, C; Sun, J. R.; Liang, G. Y.; Wang, F. L.; Ding, Y. K.; He, X. T.; Zhu, Q. J. ; Sheng, Zheng-Ming; Li, G.; Zhao, G.; Zhang, J.

In: Astrophysical Journal Supplement , Vol. 225, No. 2, 30, 23.08.2016.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Relativistic electrons produced by reconnecting electric fields in a laser-driven bench-top solar flare

AU - Zhong, J. Y.

AU - Lin, J.

AU - Li, Y.T.

AU - Wang, X.

AU - Li, Y.

AU - Zhang, K.

AU - Yuan, D. W.

AU - Ping, Y. L.

AU - Wei, H. G.

AU - Wang, J. Q.

AU - Su, L. N.

AU - Li, F.

AU - Han, B.

AU - Liao, G. Q.

AU - Yin, C. L.

AU - Fang, Y

AU - Yuan, X.

AU - Wang, C

AU - Sun, J. R.

AU - Liang, G. Y.

AU - Wang, F. L.

AU - Ding, Y. K.

AU - He, X. T.

AU - Zhu, Q. J.

AU - Sheng, Zheng-Ming

AU - Li, G.

AU - Zhao, G.

AU - Zhang, J.

PY - 2016/8/23

Y1 - 2016/8/23

N2 - Laboratory experiments have been carried out to model the magnetic reconnection process in a solar flare with powerful lasers. Relativistic electrons with energy up to megaelectronvolts are detected along the magnetic separatrices bounding the reconnection outflow, which exhibit a kappa-like distribution with an effective temperature of ~109 K. The acceleration of non-thermal electrons is found to be more efficient in the case with a guide magnetic field (a component of a magnetic field along the reconnection-induced electric field) than in the case without a guide field. Hardening of the spectrum at energies ≥500 keV is observed in both cases, which remarkably resembles the hardening of hard X-ray and γ-ray spectra observed in many solar flares. This supports a recent proposal that the hardening in the hard X-ray and γ-ray emissions of solar flares is due to a hardening of the source-electron spectrum. We also performed numerical simulations that help examine behaviors of electrons in the reconnection process with the electromagnetic field configurations occurring in the experiments. The trajectories of non-thermal electrons observed in the experiments were well duplicated in the simulations. Our numerical simulations generally reproduce the electron energy spectrum as well, except for the hardening of the electron spectrum. This suggests that other mechanisms such as shock or turbulence may play an important role in the production of the observed energetic electrons.

AB - Laboratory experiments have been carried out to model the magnetic reconnection process in a solar flare with powerful lasers. Relativistic electrons with energy up to megaelectronvolts are detected along the magnetic separatrices bounding the reconnection outflow, which exhibit a kappa-like distribution with an effective temperature of ~109 K. The acceleration of non-thermal electrons is found to be more efficient in the case with a guide magnetic field (a component of a magnetic field along the reconnection-induced electric field) than in the case without a guide field. Hardening of the spectrum at energies ≥500 keV is observed in both cases, which remarkably resembles the hardening of hard X-ray and γ-ray spectra observed in many solar flares. This supports a recent proposal that the hardening in the hard X-ray and γ-ray emissions of solar flares is due to a hardening of the source-electron spectrum. We also performed numerical simulations that help examine behaviors of electrons in the reconnection process with the electromagnetic field configurations occurring in the experiments. The trajectories of non-thermal electrons observed in the experiments were well duplicated in the simulations. Our numerical simulations generally reproduce the electron energy spectrum as well, except for the hardening of the electron spectrum. This suggests that other mechanisms such as shock or turbulence may play an important role in the production of the observed energetic electrons.

KW - laboratory astrophysics

KW - magnetic reconnection

KW - solar flares

KW - general particle-acceleration

KW - plasma physics

UR - http://iopscience.iop.org/journal/0067-0049

U2 - 10.3847/0067-0049/225/2/30

DO - 10.3847/0067-0049/225/2/30

M3 - Article

VL - 225

JO - Astrophysical Journal Supplement

T2 - Astrophysical Journal Supplement

JF - Astrophysical Journal Supplement

SN - 0067-0049

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M1 - 30

ER -