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Title: Nonlinear evolution of three-dimensional instabilities of thin and thick electron scale current sheets: Plasmoid formation and current filamentation

Nonlinear evolution of three dimensional electron shear flow instabilities of an electron current sheet (ECS) is studied using electron-magnetohydrodynamic simulations. The dependence of the evolution on current sheet thickness is examined. For thin current sheets (half thickness =d{sub e}=c/ω{sub pe}), tearing mode instability dominates. In its nonlinear evolution, it leads to the formation of oblique current channels. Magnetic field lines form 3-D magnetic spirals. Even in the absence of initial guide field, the out-of-reconnection-plane magnetic field generated by the tearing instability itself may play the role of guide field in the growth of secondary finite-guide-field instabilities. For thicker current sheets (half thickness ∼5 d{sub e}), both tearing and non-tearing modes grow. Due to the non-tearing mode, current sheet becomes corrugated in the beginning of the evolution. In this case, tearing mode lets the magnetic field reconnect in the corrugated ECS. Later thick ECS develops filamentary structures and turbulence in which reconnection occurs. This evolution of thick ECS provides an example of reconnection in self-generated turbulence. The power spectra for both the thin and thick current sheets are anisotropic with respect to the electron flow direction. The cascade towards shorter scales occurs preferentially in the direction perpendicular to the electron flow.
Authors:
;  [1] ;  [2]
  1. Max Planck/Princeton Center for Plasma Physics, Göttingen (Germany)
  2. (Germany)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22304083
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Physics of Plasmas; Journal Volume: 21; Journal Issue: 7; 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; CURRENTS; HALF-THICKNESS; MAGNETIC FIELDS; NONLINEAR PROBLEMS; SIMULATION; TEARING INSTABILITY; THREE-DIMENSIONAL CALCULATIONS