Articles | Volume 30, issue 4
ANGEO Communicates
03 Apr 2012
ANGEO Communicates |  | 03 Apr 2012

Electron scale structures of thin current sheets in magnetic reconnection

N. Jain, A. S. Sharma, L. M. Zelenyi, and H. V. Malova

Abstract. An electron-magnetohydrodynamic model is used to simulate the structure of an electron scale current sheet during early phase of collisionless magnetic reconnection. The current sheet develops structures, viz. bifurcated, filamented and triple-peak structures at different locations in the current sheet. The reversal of the net out-of-plane electric field seen by electrons bifurcates the current sheet in the outflow regions, the individual peaks having scale sizes of a few electron skin depths. Secondary instabilities of the bifurcated CS lead to its filamentation in the outflow and separatrix regions while triple-peak structures form at reconnection sites. These structures have implications for the forthcoming NASA/MMS mission designed to resolve electron space and time scales in the magnetosphere.