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Title: 3D Numerical Simulation of Kink-driven Rayleigh–Taylor Instability Leading to Fast Magnetic Reconnection

Abstract

Fast magnetic reconnection involving non-MHD microscale physics is thought to underlie both solar eruptions and laboratory plasma current disruptions. While there is extensive research on both the MHD macroscale physics and the non-MHD microscale physics, the process by which large-scale MHD couples to the microscale physics is not well understood. An MHD instability cascade from a kink to a secondary Rayleigh–Taylor instability in the Caltech astrophysical jet laboratory experiment provides new insights into this coupling and motivates a 3D numerical simulation of this transition from large to small scale. A critical finding from the simulation is that the axial magnetic field inside the current-carrying dense plasma must exceed the field outside. In addition, the simulation verifies a theoretical prediction and experimental observation that, depending on the strength of the effective gravity produced by the primary kink instability, the secondary instability can be Rayleigh–Taylor or mini-kink. Finally, it is shown that the kink-driven Rayleigh–Taylor instability generates a localized electric field sufficiently strong to accelerate electrons to very high energy.

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [2]; ORCiD logo [1]
  1. California Institute of Technology (CalTech), Pasadena, CA (United States)
  2. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
California Institute of Technology (CalTech), Pasadena, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Fusion Energy Sciences (FES) (SC-24); National Science Foundation (NSF); Air Force Office of Scientific Researtch (AFOSR)
OSTI Identifier:
1631735
Grant/Contract Number:  
FG02-04ER54755
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal. Letters
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 895; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 2041-8213
Publisher:
Institute of Physics (IOP)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
70 PLASMA PHYSICS AND FUSION TECHNOLOGY; Magnetohydrodynamical simulations; Magnetohydrodynamics; Laboratory astrophysics; Experimental models; Plasma astrophysics

Citation Formats

Wongwaitayakornkul, Pakorn, Li, Hui, and Bellan, Paul M. 3D Numerical Simulation of Kink-driven Rayleigh–Taylor Instability Leading to Fast Magnetic Reconnection. United States: N. p., 2020. Web. doi:10.3847/2041-8213/ab8e35.
Wongwaitayakornkul, Pakorn, Li, Hui, & Bellan, Paul M. 3D Numerical Simulation of Kink-driven Rayleigh–Taylor Instability Leading to Fast Magnetic Reconnection. United States. doi:https://doi.org/10.3847/2041-8213/ab8e35
Wongwaitayakornkul, Pakorn, Li, Hui, and Bellan, Paul M. Mon . "3D Numerical Simulation of Kink-driven Rayleigh–Taylor Instability Leading to Fast Magnetic Reconnection". United States. doi:https://doi.org/10.3847/2041-8213/ab8e35.
@article{osti_1631735,
title = {3D Numerical Simulation of Kink-driven Rayleigh–Taylor Instability Leading to Fast Magnetic Reconnection},
author = {Wongwaitayakornkul, Pakorn and Li, Hui and Bellan, Paul M.},
abstractNote = {Fast magnetic reconnection involving non-MHD microscale physics is thought to underlie both solar eruptions and laboratory plasma current disruptions. While there is extensive research on both the MHD macroscale physics and the non-MHD microscale physics, the process by which large-scale MHD couples to the microscale physics is not well understood. An MHD instability cascade from a kink to a secondary Rayleigh–Taylor instability in the Caltech astrophysical jet laboratory experiment provides new insights into this coupling and motivates a 3D numerical simulation of this transition from large to small scale. A critical finding from the simulation is that the axial magnetic field inside the current-carrying dense plasma must exceed the field outside. In addition, the simulation verifies a theoretical prediction and experimental observation that, depending on the strength of the effective gravity produced by the primary kink instability, the secondary instability can be Rayleigh–Taylor or mini-kink. Finally, it is shown that the kink-driven Rayleigh–Taylor instability generates a localized electric field sufficiently strong to accelerate electrons to very high energy.},
doi = {10.3847/2041-8213/ab8e35},
journal = {The Astrophysical Journal. Letters},
number = 1,
volume = 895,
place = {United States},
year = {2020},
month = {5}
}

Journal Article:
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