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Title: Dynamo-driven plasmoid formation from a current-sheet instability

Axisymmetric current-carrying plasmoids are formed in the presence of nonaxisymmetric fluctuations during nonlinear three-dimensional resistive MHD simulations in a global toroidal geometry. In this study, we utilize the helicity injection technique to form an initial poloidal flux in the presence of a toroidal guide field. As helicity is injected, two types of current sheets are formed from the oppositely directed field lines in the injector region (primary reconnecting current sheet), and the poloidal flux compression near the plasma edge (edge current sheet). We first find that nonaxisymmetric fluctuations arising from the current-sheet instability isolated near the plasma edge have tearing parity but can nevertheless grow fast (on the poloidal Alfven time scale). These modes saturate by breaking up the current sheet. Second, for the first time, a dynamo poloidal flux amplification is observed at the reconnection site (in the region of the oppositely directed magnetic field). This fluctuation-induced flux amplification increases the local Lundquist number, which then triggers a plasmoid instability and breaks the primary current sheet at the reconnection site. Finally, the plasmoids formation driven by large-scale flux amplification, i.e., a large-scale dynamo, observed here has strong implications for astrophysical reconnection as well as fast reconnection events in laboratorymore » plasmas.« less
  1. Princeton Plasma Physics Lab. (PPPL), Princeton, NJ (United States). Department of Astrophysical Sciences; Princeton Univ., NJ (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
AC02-09CH11466; SC0010565; SC0012467; AC02-09CHI1466
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Physics of Plasmas
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 23; Journal Issue: 12; Journal ID: ISSN 1070-664X
American Institute of Physics (AIP)
Research Org:
Princeton Plasma Physics Lab. (PPPL), Princeton, NJ (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
70 PLASMA PHYSICS AND FUSION TECHNOLOGY; Magnetic reconnection; Magnetic fields; Toroidal plasma confinement; Plasma instabilities; Geomagnetism and paleomagnetism
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1336476