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Title: Experimental study of ion heating and acceleration during magnetic reconnection

Abstract

This dissertation reports an experimental study of ion heating and acceleration during magnetic reconnection, which is the annihilation and topological rearrangement of magnetic flux in a conductive plasma. Reconnection is invoked often to explain particle heating and acceleration in both laboratory and naturally occurring plasmas. However, a simultaneous account of reconnection and its associated energy conversion has been elusive due to the extreme inaccessibility of reconnection events, e.g. in the solar corona, the Earth's magnetosphere, or in fusion research plasmas. Experiments for this work were conducted on MRX (Magnetic Reconnection Experiment), which creates a plasma environment allowing the reconnection process to be isolated, reproduced, and diagnosed in detail. Key findings of this work are the identification of local ion heating during magnetic reconnection and the determination that non-classical effects must provide the heating mechanism. Measured ion flows are sub-Alfvenic and can provide only slight viscous heating, and classical ion-electron interactions can be neglected due to the very long energy equipartition time. The plasma resistivity in the reconnection layer is seen to be enhanced over the classical value, and the ion heating is observed to scale with the enhancement factor, suggesting a relationship between the magnetic energy dissipation mechanism and themore » ion heating mechanism. The observation of non-classical ion heating during reconnection has significant implications for understanding the role played by non-classical dissipation mechanisms in generating fast reconnection. The findings are relevant for many areas of space and laboratory plasma research, a prime example being the currently unsolved problem of solar coronal heating. In the process of performing this work, local measurements of ion temperature and flows in a well-characterized reconnection layer were obtained for the first time in either laboratory or observational reconnection research. Furthermore, much progress was made in understanding the reconnection process itself.« less

Authors:
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Princeton Plasma Physics Lab., Princeton, NJ (US)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Energy Research (ER) (US)
OSTI Identifier:
750977
Report Number(s):
PPPL-3430
TRN: US0000892
DOE Contract Number:  
AC02-76CH03073
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Resource Relation:
Other Information: PBD: 28 Jan 2000
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
70 PLASMA PHYSICS AND FUSION; 66 PHYSICS; MAGNETIC RECONNECTION; ION DRIFT; SOLAR CORONA; PLASMA HEATING; ENERGY LOSSES; ACCELERATION; MAGNETIC FLUX; EARTH MAGNETOSPHERE; THERMONUCLEAR DEVICES; RESEARCH PROGRAMS

Citation Formats

Hsu, S.C. Experimental study of ion heating and acceleration during magnetic reconnection. United States: N. p., 2000. Web. doi:10.2172/750977.
Hsu, S.C. Experimental study of ion heating and acceleration during magnetic reconnection. United States. doi:10.2172/750977.
Hsu, S.C. Fri . "Experimental study of ion heating and acceleration during magnetic reconnection". United States. doi:10.2172/750977. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/750977.
@article{osti_750977,
title = {Experimental study of ion heating and acceleration during magnetic reconnection},
author = {Hsu, S.C.},
abstractNote = {This dissertation reports an experimental study of ion heating and acceleration during magnetic reconnection, which is the annihilation and topological rearrangement of magnetic flux in a conductive plasma. Reconnection is invoked often to explain particle heating and acceleration in both laboratory and naturally occurring plasmas. However, a simultaneous account of reconnection and its associated energy conversion has been elusive due to the extreme inaccessibility of reconnection events, e.g. in the solar corona, the Earth's magnetosphere, or in fusion research plasmas. Experiments for this work were conducted on MRX (Magnetic Reconnection Experiment), which creates a plasma environment allowing the reconnection process to be isolated, reproduced, and diagnosed in detail. Key findings of this work are the identification of local ion heating during magnetic reconnection and the determination that non-classical effects must provide the heating mechanism. Measured ion flows are sub-Alfvenic and can provide only slight viscous heating, and classical ion-electron interactions can be neglected due to the very long energy equipartition time. The plasma resistivity in the reconnection layer is seen to be enhanced over the classical value, and the ion heating is observed to scale with the enhancement factor, suggesting a relationship between the magnetic energy dissipation mechanism and the ion heating mechanism. The observation of non-classical ion heating during reconnection has significant implications for understanding the role played by non-classical dissipation mechanisms in generating fast reconnection. The findings are relevant for many areas of space and laboratory plasma research, a prime example being the currently unsolved problem of solar coronal heating. In the process of performing this work, local measurements of ion temperature and flows in a well-characterized reconnection layer were obtained for the first time in either laboratory or observational reconnection research. Furthermore, much progress was made in understanding the reconnection process itself.},
doi = {10.2172/750977},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2000},
month = {1}
}