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Title: EVOLUTION OF RELATIVISTIC PLASMOID CHAINS IN A POYNTING-DOMINATED PLASMA

In this paper, we investigate the evolution of plasmoid chains in a Poynting-dominated plasma. We model the relativistic current sheet with a cold background plasma using the relativistic resistive magnetohydrodynamic approximation and solve for its temporal evolution numerically. We perform various calculations using different magnetization parameters of the background plasma and different Lundquist numbers. Numerical results show that the initially induced plasmoid triggers a secondary tearing instability, which gradually fills the current sheet with plasmoids, as has also been observed in the non-relativistic case. We find that plasmoid chains greatly enhance the reconnection rate, which becomes independent of the Lundquist number when the Lundquist number exceeds a critical value. In addition, we show that the distribution of plasmoid size becomes a power law. Since magnetic reconnection is expected to play an important role in various high-energy astrophysical phenomena, our results can be used for explaining the physical mechanisms of those phenomena.
Authors:
 [1]
  1. Max-Planck-Institut für Kernphysik, D-69117 Heidelberg (Germany)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22270937
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 775; Journal Issue: 1; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
70 PLASMA PHYSICS AND FUSION TECHNOLOGY; 79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; APPROXIMATIONS; ASTROPHYSICS; MAGNETIC FIELDS; MAGNETIC RECONNECTION; MAGNETIZATION; MAGNETOHYDRODYNAMICS; PLASMA; PLASMOIDS; RELATIVISTIC RANGE; TEARING INSTABILITY