Exact Vlasov-Maxwell equilibria for asymmetric current sheets

O. Allanson, F. Wilson, T. Neukirch, Yi-Hsin Liu, J. D. B. Hodgson

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The NASA Magnetospheric Multiscale mission has made in-situ diffusion region and kinetic-scale resolution measurements of asymmetric magnetic reconnection for the first time [Burch et al., 2016], in the Earth’s magnetopause. The principal theoretical tool currently used to model collisionless asymmetric reconnection is particle-in-cell simulations. Many particle-in-cell simulations of asymmetric collisionless reconnection start from an asymmetric Harris-type magnetic field, but with distribution functions that are not exact equilibrium solutions of the Vlasov equation. We present new and exact equilibrium solutions of the Vlasov-Maxwell system that are self-consistent with one-dimensional asymmetric current sheets, with an asymmetric Harris-type magnetic field profile, plus a constant non-zero guide field. The distribution functions can be represented as a combination of four shifted Maxwellian distribution functions. This equilibrium describes a magnetic field configuration with more freedom than the previously known exact solution [Alpers, 1969], and has different bulk flow properties.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8685-8695
Number of pages11
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number17
Early online date7 Sept 2017
Publication statusPublished - 16 Sept 2017


  • Vlasoc-Maxwell equilibrium
  • Exact solution
  • Asymmetric current sheet
  • Magnetopause
  • Initial Condition
  • Distribution function


Dive into the research topics of 'Exact Vlasov-Maxwell equilibria for asymmetric current sheets'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this