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Title: Current disruption and its spreading in collisionless magnetic reconnection

Recent magnetic reconnection experiments (MRX) [Dorfman et al., Geophys. Res. Lett. 40, 233 (2013)] have disclosed current disruption in the absence of an externally imposed guide field. During current disruption in MRX, both the current density and the total observed out-of-reconnection-plane current drop simultaneous with a rise in out-of-reconnection-plane electric field. Here, we show that current disruption is an intrinsic property of the dynamic formation of an X-point configuration of magnetic field in magnetic reconnection, independent of the model used for plasma description and of the dimensionality (2D or 3D) of reconnection. An analytic expression for the current drop is derived from Ampere's Law. Its predictions are verified by 2D and 3D electron-magnetohydrodynamic (EMHD) simulations. Three dimensional EMHD simulations show that the current disruption due to localized magnetic reconnection spreads along the direction of the electron drift velocity with a speed which depends on the wave number of the perturbation. The implications of these results for MRX are discussed.
Authors:
;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4]
  1. Max-Planck/Princeton Center for Plasma Physics, Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, 37191 Katlenburg-Lindau (Germany)
  2. University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California 90095 (United States)
  3. Max-Planck/Princeton Center for Plasma Physics, Deparment of Astrophysica Sciences and Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey 08540 (United States)
  4. Department of Astronomy, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20742 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22218401
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Physics of Plasmas; Journal Volume: 20; Journal Issue: 11; Other Information: (c) 2013 AIP Publishing LLC; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
70 PLASMA PHYSICS AND FUSION TECHNOLOGY; CURRENT DENSITY; DISTURBANCES; ELECTRIC FIELDS; ELECTRON DRIFT; ELECTRONS; MAGNETIC FIELDS; MAGNETIC RECONNECTION; MAGNETOHYDRODYNAMICS; PLASMA; PLASMA DISRUPTION; PLASMA SIMULATION; THREE-DIMENSIONAL CALCULATIONS