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Title: The onset of magnetic reconnection in three dimensions

The onset of collisionless magnetic reconnection in current sheets containing a localized enhancement of the initial normal magnetic field component is examined using 2D and 3D particle-in-cell simulations that treat a closed system. In the 2D case, the current sheet is found to remain stable for at least several hundred inverse ion cyclotron times. In 3D, however, the system is found to be unstable to a ballooning/interchange type of mode with wavenumber k{sub y}ρ{sub in}∼1 (where ρ{sub in} is the ion gyroradius in the normal field B{sub z}). These modes evolve to form intense “heads” of strongly enhanced B{sub z}; in the wake of the heads are regions of strongly reduced or reversed B{sub z}. These local field reversals lead to the onset of reconnection with reconnection electric fields several times more intense than typical values seen for 2D reconnection.
Authors:
 [1]
  1. Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California 90095-1547 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22227854
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Physics of Plasmas; Journal Volume: 20; Journal Issue: 8; 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; BALLOONING INSTABILITY; ELECTRIC CURRENTS; ELECTRIC FIELDS; IONS; MAGNETIC FIELDS; MAGNETIC RECONNECTION; MAGNETOHYDRODYNAMICS; PLASMA; PLASMA SHEET; PLASMA SIMULATION