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Annales Geophysicae An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-2019-86
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-2019-86
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: regular paper 08 Jul 2019

Submitted as: regular paper | 08 Jul 2019

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This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Annales Geophysicae (ANGEO).

Mirror mode physics: Amplitude limit

Rudolf A. Treumann1,3 and Wolfgang Baumjohann2 Rudolf A. Treumann and Wolfgang Baumjohann
  • 1International Space Science Institute, Bern, Switzerland
  • 2Space Research Institute, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Graz, Austria
  • 3Geophysics Department, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Germany

Abstract. The mirror mode evolving in collisionless magnetised high-temperature thermally anisotropic plasmas is shown to resemble a macro-quantum state. Starting as a classical zero frequency ion fluid instability it saturates quasi-linearly at very low magnetic level, while forming extended magnetic bubbles.It traps the electron component into an adiabatic bounce motion along the magnetic field which causes a bulk electron anisotropy. This can drive an electron mirror mode (see Treumann and Baumjohann, 2018b, who identified it in old spacecraft data). More important, however, we show that trapped electrons play the dominant role of further evolution towards a stationary state. Interaction of the trapped bouncing electrons with the thermal level of ion sound waves causes attractive potentials between electrons and forms electron pairs in the lowest-energy singlet state of two combined electrons. This happens preferentially near the electron mirror points resulting in a diamagnetic current effect which ultimately drives evolution of the magnetic field into large amplitude mirror bubbles causing diamagnetism and expelling a larger fraction of magnetic flux from the interior of the initial quasi-linearly stable mirror mode bottle. Estimates given in view of mirror modes in the magnetosheath are in reasonable numerical agreement with observation. We derive the self-consistent final state of the mirror bubbles. This analysis demonstrates that the observed mirror mode in high temperature space plasmas (solar wind, magnetosheath, magnetotail) is not a simple magnetohydrodynamic instability. It resembles a classical super-conducting, super-fluid state in high temperature plasma under conditions when electron pairs form. This is a most interesting observation which suggests that pair formation can become relevant in space and astrophysics.

Rudolf A. Treumann and Wolfgang Baumjohann
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Rudolf A. Treumann and Wolfgang Baumjohann
Rudolf A. Treumann and Wolfgang Baumjohann
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Short summary
The mirror mode starts as a zero frequency ion fluid instability and saturates quasi-linearly at very low magnetic level, while forming extended magnetic bubbles which trap the electron component into an adiabatic bounce motion. Near its trapped mirror points electrons form pairs which behave coherently. Their diamagnetic effect increases the mirror amplitude far above its quasilinear level. The abolute achievable amplitude limit is estimated.
The mirror mode starts as a zero frequency ion fluid instability and saturates quasi-linearly at...
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