University of Maryland
Double Layers, Electron Heat Flux Suppression, Driving the Solar Wind
Observations of flare-heated electrons in the corona typically suggest they are confined near the looptop. The confinement mechanism, however, remains unclear. We have recently found that transport into the ambient plasma is significantly suppressed by the formation of highly localized, nonlinear electrostatic structures in the form of double layers (DLs). We will discuss the formation of these DLs and their behavior, as well as how they suppress transport and accelerate ambient ions. The latter process clarifies the mechanism by which hot electrons in the corona could couple to and accelerate ions to form the solar wind.