Collisionless distribution function for the relativistic force-free Harris sheet

C. R. Stark, T. Neukirch

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A self-consistent collisionless distribution function for the relativistic analogue of the force-free Harris sheet is presented. This distribution function is the relativistic generalization of the distribution function for the non-relativistic collisionless force-free Harris sheet recently found by Harrison and Neukirch [Phys. Rev. Lett. 102, 135003 (2009)], as it has the same dependence on the particle energy and canonical momenta. We present a detailed calculation which shows that the proposed distribution function generates the required current density profile (and thus magnetic field profile) in a frame of reference in which the electric potential vanishes identically. The connection between the parameters of the distribution function and the macroscopic parameters such as the current sheet thickness is discussed. (C) 2012 American Institute of Physics. [doi: 10.1063/1.3677268]

Original languageEnglish
Article number012115
Number of pages7
JournalPhysics of Plasmas
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012


  • Plasma confinement
  • Plasma kinetic theory
  • Plasma simulation
  • Plasma thermodynamics
  • Relativistic plasmas


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