Fast, purely growing collisionless reconnection as an eigenfunction problem related to but not involving linear whistler waves
If either finite electron inertia or finite resistivity is included in 2D magnetic reconnection, the twofluid equations become a pair of secondorder differential equations coupling the outofplane magnetic field and vector potential to each other to form a fourthorder system. The coupling at an Xpoint is such that outofplane evenparity electric and oddparity magnetic fields feed off each other to produce instability if the scale length on which the equilibrium magnetic field changes is less than the ion skin depth. The instability growth rate is given by an eigenvalue of the fourthorder system determined by boundary and symmetry conditions. The instability is a purely growing mode, not a wave, and has growth rate of the order of the whistler frequency. The spatial profile of both the outofplane electric and magnetic eigenfunctions consists of an inner concave region having extent of the order of the electron skin depth, an intermediate convex region having extent of the order of the equilibrium magnetic field scale length, and a concave outer exponentially decaying region. If finite electron inertia and resistivity are not included, the inner concave region does not exist and the coupled pair of equations reduces to a secondorder differential equation having nonphysicalmore »
 Authors:

^{[1]}
 Applied Physics and Materials Science, Caltech, Pasadena, California 91125 (United States)
 Publication Date:
 OSTI Identifier:
 22299651
 Resource Type:
 Journal Article
 Resource Relation:
 Journal Name: Physics of Plasmas; Journal Volume: 21; Journal Issue: 10; Other Information: (c) 2014 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; DIFFERENTIAL EQUATIONS; EIGENFUNCTIONS; EIGENVALUES; ELECTRONS; EQUILIBRIUM; INSTABILITY GROWTH RATES; MAGNETIC FIELDS; MAGNETIC RECONNECTION; MATHEMATICAL SOLUTIONS; MOMENT OF INERTIA; PARITY; WHISTLERS