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Title: In-plane electric fields in magnetic islands during collisionless magnetic reconnection

Abstract

Magnetic islands are a common feature in both the onset and nonlinear evolution of magnetic reconnection. In collisionless regimes, the onset typically occurs within ion-scale current layers leading to the formation of magnetic islands when multiple X lines are involved. The nonlinear evolution of reconnection often gives rise to extended electron current layers (ECL) which are also unstable to formation of magnetic islands. Here, we show that the excess negative charge and strong out-of-plane electron velocity in the ECL are passed on to the islands generated therein, and that the corresponding observable distinguishing the islands generated in the ECL is the strongly enhanced in-plane electric fields near the island core. The islands formed in ion-scale current layers do not have these properties of the ECL-generated islands. The above result provides a way to assess the occurrence and importance of extended ECLs that are unstable to island formation in space and laboratory plasmas.

Authors:
; ; ;  [1];  [2];  [3]
  1. Space Science Center, University of New Hampshire, Durham, New Hampshire 03824 (United States)
  2. Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico 87545 (United States)
  3. University of California at San Diego, San Diego, California 92093 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22068902
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Journal Name:
Physics of Plasmas
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 19; Journal Issue: 11; Other Information: (c) 2012 American Institute of Physics; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); Journal ID: ISSN 1070-664X
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
70 PLASMA PHYSICS AND FUSION TECHNOLOGY; CURRENTS; ELECTRIC FIELDS; ELECTRON DENSITY; ELECTRONS; MAGNETIC ISLANDS; MAGNETIC RECONNECTION; NONLINEAR PROBLEMS; PLASMA

Citation Formats

Chen Lijen, Bhattacharjee, Amitava, Torbert, Roy B., Bessho, Naoki, Daughton, William, and Roytershteyn, Vadim. In-plane electric fields in magnetic islands during collisionless magnetic reconnection. United States: N. p., 2012. Web. doi:10.1063/1.4767645.
Chen Lijen, Bhattacharjee, Amitava, Torbert, Roy B., Bessho, Naoki, Daughton, William, & Roytershteyn, Vadim. In-plane electric fields in magnetic islands during collisionless magnetic reconnection. United States. doi:10.1063/1.4767645.
Chen Lijen, Bhattacharjee, Amitava, Torbert, Roy B., Bessho, Naoki, Daughton, William, and Roytershteyn, Vadim. Thu . "In-plane electric fields in magnetic islands during collisionless magnetic reconnection". United States. doi:10.1063/1.4767645.
@article{osti_22068902,
title = {In-plane electric fields in magnetic islands during collisionless magnetic reconnection},
author = {Chen Lijen and Bhattacharjee, Amitava and Torbert, Roy B. and Bessho, Naoki and Daughton, William and Roytershteyn, Vadim},
abstractNote = {Magnetic islands are a common feature in both the onset and nonlinear evolution of magnetic reconnection. In collisionless regimes, the onset typically occurs within ion-scale current layers leading to the formation of magnetic islands when multiple X lines are involved. The nonlinear evolution of reconnection often gives rise to extended electron current layers (ECL) which are also unstable to formation of magnetic islands. Here, we show that the excess negative charge and strong out-of-plane electron velocity in the ECL are passed on to the islands generated therein, and that the corresponding observable distinguishing the islands generated in the ECL is the strongly enhanced in-plane electric fields near the island core. The islands formed in ion-scale current layers do not have these properties of the ECL-generated islands. The above result provides a way to assess the occurrence and importance of extended ECLs that are unstable to island formation in space and laboratory plasmas.},
doi = {10.1063/1.4767645},
journal = {Physics of Plasmas},
issn = {1070-664X},
number = 11,
volume = 19,
place = {United States},
year = {2012},
month = {11}
}