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Title: The two-fluid dynamics and energetics of the asymmetric magnetic reconnection in laboratory and space plasmas

Abstract

Magnetic reconnection is a fundamental process in magnetized plasma where magnetic energy is converted to plasma energy. Despite huge differences in the physical size of the reconnection layer, remarkably similar characteristics are observed in both laboratory and magnetosphere plasmas. Here we present the comparative study of the dynamics and physical mechanisms governing the energy conversion in the laboratory and space plasma in the context of two-fluid physics, aided by numerical simulations. In strongly asymmetric reconnection layers with negligible guide field, the energy deposition to electrons is found to primarily occur in the electron diffusion region where electrons are demagnetized and diffuse. A large potential well is observed within the reconnection plane and ions are accelerated by the electric field toward the exhaust region. In conclusion, the present comparative study identifies the robust two-fluid mechanism operating in systems over six orders of magnitude in spatial scales and over a wide range of collisionality.

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [2];  [1];  [2]; ORCiD logo [1];  [1];  [1];  [3];  [3]; ORCiD logo [4];  [2];  [5];  [2];  [6]
  1. Princeton Univ., Princeton, NJ (United States). Princeton Plasma Physics Lab.
  2. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), Greenbelt, MD (United States)
  3. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
  4. Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, TX (United States)
  5. Univ. of Bergen, Bergen (Norway)
  6. Univ. of New Hampshire, Durham, NH (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Princeton Plasma Physics Lab. (PPPL), Princeton, NJ (United States); Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1489227
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1489968
Report Number(s):
LA-UR-18-31065
Journal ID: ISSN 2041-1723; PII: 7680
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC02-09CH11466; 89233218CNA000001
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Nature Communications
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 9; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 2041-1723
Publisher:
Nature Publishing Group
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
70 PLASMA PHYSICS AND FUSION TECHNOLOGY

Citation Formats

Yamada, M., Chen, L. -J., Yoo, J., Wang, S., Fox, W., Jara-Almonte, J., Ji, H., Daughton, W., Le, A., Burch, J., Giles, B., Hesse, M., Moore, T., and Torbert, R. The two-fluid dynamics and energetics of the asymmetric magnetic reconnection in laboratory and space plasmas. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.1038/s41467-018-07680-2.
Yamada, M., Chen, L. -J., Yoo, J., Wang, S., Fox, W., Jara-Almonte, J., Ji, H., Daughton, W., Le, A., Burch, J., Giles, B., Hesse, M., Moore, T., & Torbert, R. The two-fluid dynamics and energetics of the asymmetric magnetic reconnection in laboratory and space plasmas. United States. doi:10.1038/s41467-018-07680-2.
Yamada, M., Chen, L. -J., Yoo, J., Wang, S., Fox, W., Jara-Almonte, J., Ji, H., Daughton, W., Le, A., Burch, J., Giles, B., Hesse, M., Moore, T., and Torbert, R. Thu . "The two-fluid dynamics and energetics of the asymmetric magnetic reconnection in laboratory and space plasmas". United States. doi:10.1038/s41467-018-07680-2. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1489227.
@article{osti_1489227,
title = {The two-fluid dynamics and energetics of the asymmetric magnetic reconnection in laboratory and space plasmas},
author = {Yamada, M. and Chen, L. -J. and Yoo, J. and Wang, S. and Fox, W. and Jara-Almonte, J. and Ji, H. and Daughton, W. and Le, A. and Burch, J. and Giles, B. and Hesse, M. and Moore, T. and Torbert, R.},
abstractNote = {Magnetic reconnection is a fundamental process in magnetized plasma where magnetic energy is converted to plasma energy. Despite huge differences in the physical size of the reconnection layer, remarkably similar characteristics are observed in both laboratory and magnetosphere plasmas. Here we present the comparative study of the dynamics and physical mechanisms governing the energy conversion in the laboratory and space plasma in the context of two-fluid physics, aided by numerical simulations. In strongly asymmetric reconnection layers with negligible guide field, the energy deposition to electrons is found to primarily occur in the electron diffusion region where electrons are demagnetized and diffuse. A large potential well is observed within the reconnection plane and ions are accelerated by the electric field toward the exhaust region. In conclusion, the present comparative study identifies the robust two-fluid mechanism operating in systems over six orders of magnitude in spatial scales and over a wide range of collisionality.},
doi = {10.1038/s41467-018-07680-2},
journal = {Nature Communications},
number = 1,
volume = 9,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {12}
}

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Figures / Tables:

Fig. 1 Fig. 1: MRX apparatus and demonstration of the two fluid effects. a MRX apparatus to generate asymmetric reconnection the current sheet. Each flux core (gray circles) contains two sets of internal coils that are used to create plasma and to drive reconnection. The distance between the surfaces of the twomore » flux cores is 40 cm. By controlling the sequence of coil currents and the initial plasma flows, asymmetric reconnection is formed with electron density asymmetry, of up to 10. b Measured flow vectors of electrons (red arrows) and ions (blue arrows) in the full reconnection plane together with poloidal flux contours (black lines), and color contours of the out-of-plane magnetic field. The marker X at (X, Z)= (37.6, 0) cm denotes the location of the X-line where magnetic field is near zero, the red filled circle at (X, Z)= (36.5, 0) cm is the stagnation point of in plane electron flows, and the blue circle at (X, Z) = (35.8, 0) cm is the stagnation point of ion flows. The separate axes are provided to indicate the size of the measurement region in the ion skin depth (di). c 3D view of reconnecting magnetic field lines. The movement of the field lines in the reconnection plane can be tracked in Supplementary Movie 1 (attached in this paper) from MRX data. Because of the dipole structure of out-of-plane magnetic field due to the Hall effect, the plane where field lines move with electrons is tilted with respect to the Y-axis on the high-density side« less

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