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This content will become publicly available on February 16, 2019

Title: Magnetohydrodynamic Turbulence in the Plasmoid-mediated Regime

Magnetohydrodynamic turbulence and magnetic reconnection are ubiquitous in astrophysical environments. In most situations these processes do not occur in isolation but interact with each other. This renders a comprehensive theory of these processes highly challenging. Here we propose a theory of magnetohydrodynamic turbulence driven at a large scale that self-consistently accounts for the mutual interplay with magnetic reconnection occurring at smaller scales. Magnetic reconnection produces plasmoids (flux ropes) that grow from turbulence-generated noise and eventually disrupt the sheet-like structures in which they are born. The disruption of these structures leads to a modification of the turbulent energy cascade, which in turn exerts a feedback effect on the plasmoid formation via the turbulence-generated noise. The energy spectrum in this plasmoid-mediated range steepens relative to the standard inertial range and does not follow a simple power law. As a result of the complex interplay between turbulence and reconnection, we also find that the length scale that marks the beginning of the plasmoid-mediated range and the dissipation length scale do not obey true power laws. The transitional magnetic Reynolds number above which the plasmoid formation becomes statistically significant enough to affect the turbulent cascade is fairly modest, implying that plasmoids are expected tomore » modify the turbulent path to dissipation in many astrophysical systems« less
ORCiD logo [1] ; ORCiD logo [1] ; ORCiD logo [2] ;  [3] ;  [1]
  1. Princeton Plasma Physics Lab. (PPPL), Princeton, NJ (United States); Princeton Univ., NJ (United States)
  2. Harvard Univ., Cambridge, MA (United States); Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, MA (United States)
  3. Princeton Plasma Physics Lab. (PPPL), Princeton, NJ (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal (Online)
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: The Astrophysical Journal (Online); Journal Volume: 854; Journal Issue: 2; Journal ID: ISSN 1538-4357
Institute of Physics (IOP)
Research Org:
Princeton Plasma Physics Lab. (PPPL), Princeton, NJ (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
OSTI Identifier: