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Title: Strongly localized magnetic reconnection by the super-Alfvénic shear flow

Abstract

We demonstrate that the dragging of the magnetic field by the super-Alfvénic shear flows out of the reconnection plane can strongly localize the reconnection x-line in collisionless pair plasmas, reversing the current direction at the x-line. Reconnection with this new morphology, which is impossible in resistive-magnetohydrodynamics, is enabled by the particle inertia. Surprisingly, the quasi-steady reconnection rate remains of order 0.1 even though the aspect ratio of the local x-line geometry is larger than unity, which completely excludes the role of tearing physics. Here, we explain this by examining the transport of the reconnected magnetic flux and the opening angle made by the upstream magnetic field, concluding that the reconnection rate is still limited by the constraint imposed at the inflow region. Based on these findings, we propose that this often observed fast rate value of order 0.1 itself, in general, is an upper bound value determined by the upstream constraint, independent of the localization mechanism and dissipation therein.

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [2];  [3];  [3]; ORCiD logo [4]
  1. Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH (United States)
  2. Univ. of Bergen, Bergen (Norway); Southwest Research Inst., San Antonio, TX (United States)
  3. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
  4. Australian Academy of Sciences, Graz (Austria)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States). National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
OSTI Identifier:
1543874
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Physics of Plasmas
Additional Journal Information:
[ Journal Volume: 25; Journal Issue: 8]; Journal ID: ISSN 1070-664X
Publisher:
American Institute of Physics (AIP)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
70 PLASMA PHYSICS AND FUSION TECHNOLOGY; Physics

Citation Formats

Liu, Yi -Hsin, Hesse, M., Guo, F., Li, H., and Nakamura, T. K. M. Strongly localized magnetic reconnection by the super-Alfvénic shear flow. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.1063/1.5042539.
Liu, Yi -Hsin, Hesse, M., Guo, F., Li, H., & Nakamura, T. K. M. Strongly localized magnetic reconnection by the super-Alfvénic shear flow. United States. doi:10.1063/1.5042539.
Liu, Yi -Hsin, Hesse, M., Guo, F., Li, H., and Nakamura, T. K. M. Thu . "Strongly localized magnetic reconnection by the super-Alfvénic shear flow". United States. doi:10.1063/1.5042539. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1543874.
@article{osti_1543874,
title = {Strongly localized magnetic reconnection by the super-Alfvénic shear flow},
author = {Liu, Yi -Hsin and Hesse, M. and Guo, F. and Li, H. and Nakamura, T. K. M.},
abstractNote = {We demonstrate that the dragging of the magnetic field by the super-Alfvénic shear flows out of the reconnection plane can strongly localize the reconnection x-line in collisionless pair plasmas, reversing the current direction at the x-line. Reconnection with this new morphology, which is impossible in resistive-magnetohydrodynamics, is enabled by the particle inertia. Surprisingly, the quasi-steady reconnection rate remains of order 0.1 even though the aspect ratio of the local x-line geometry is larger than unity, which completely excludes the role of tearing physics. Here, we explain this by examining the transport of the reconnected magnetic flux and the opening angle made by the upstream magnetic field, concluding that the reconnection rate is still limited by the constraint imposed at the inflow region. Based on these findings, we propose that this often observed fast rate value of order 0.1 itself, in general, is an upper bound value determined by the upstream constraint, independent of the localization mechanism and dissipation therein.},
doi = {10.1063/1.5042539},
journal = {Physics of Plasmas},
number = [8],
volume = [25],
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {8}
}

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Cited by: 9 works
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Figures / Tables:

FIG. 1 FIG. 1: Quantities at time 120/Ωci. (a)more » $V$ey and the contour of the in-plane magnetic flux. (b) $B$y. (c) $J$z. (d) Vector plot of the in-plane electron flow. The color represents |$V$e,xz| ≡($V$$^{2}_{ex}$ +$V$$^{2}_{ez}$)1/2 . (e) $J$y. (f) $J$y in a companion 3D simulation.« less

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