Article

# Phase Diagram for Magnetic Reconnection in Heliophysical, Astrophysical and Laboratory Plasmas

(Impact Factor: 2.25). 09/2011; 18(11). DOI: 10.1063/1.3647505
Source: arXiv

ABSTRACT Recent progress in understanding the physics of magnetic reconnection is
conveniently summarized in terms of a phase diagram which organizes the
essential dynamics for a wide variety of applications in heliophysics,
laboratory and astrophysics. The two key dimensionless parameters are the
Lundquist number and the macrosopic system size in units of the ion sound
collisionless phases, multiple X-line reconnection phases arise due to the
presence of the plasmoid instability either in collisional and collisionless
current sheets. In particular, there exists a unique phase termed "multiple
X-line hybrid phase" where a hierarchy of collisional islands or plasmoids is
terminated by a collisionless current sheet, resulting in a rapid coupling
between the macroscopic and kinetic scales and a mixture of collisional and
collisionless dynamics. The new phases involving multiple X-lines and
collisionless physics may be important for the emerging applications of
magnetic reconnection to accelerate charged particles beyond their thermal
speeds. A large number of heliophysical and astrophysical plasmas are surveyed
and grouped in the phase diagram: Earth's magnetosphere, solar plasmas
(chromosphere, corona, wind and tachocline), galactic plasmas (molecular
clouds, interstellar media, accretion disks and their coronae, Crab nebula, Sgr
A*, gamma ray bursts, magnetars), extragalactic plasmas (Active Galactic Nuclei
disks and their coronae, galaxy clusters, radio lobes, and extragalactic jets).
Significance of laboratory experiments, including a next generation
reconnection experiment, is also discussed.

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• "To maintain pressure anisotropy, the time between electron collisions must be long compared with the full transit time of a fluid element through the reconnection layer (Egedal et al. 2013; Le et al. 2015). As a valuable tool for displaying the various regimes of reconnection and their transitions , Daughton & Roytershteyn (2012) developed the reconnection phase diagram spanned by the Lundquist number S and the normalized system size λ with respect to the ion sound Larmor radius, ρ s = m i (T e + T i )/eB, or the ion skin depth, d i = c/ω pi , for strong and weak guide-field reconnection, respectively (Ji & Daughton 2011). A convenient way of representing the constraint for anisotropic pressure on a system is the condition S > 10(m i /m e )(L/d i ). "
##### Article: The Wisconsin Plasma Astrophysics Laboratory
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ABSTRACT: The Wisconsin Plasma Astrophysics Laboratory (WiPAL) is a flexible user facility designed to study a range of astrophysically relevant plasma processes as well as novel geometries which mimic astrophysical systems. A multi-cusp magnetic bucket constructed from strong samarium cobalt permanent magnets now confines a 10 m$^3$, fully ionized, magnetic-field free plasma in a spherical geometry. Plasma parameters of $T_{e}\approx5-20$ eV and $n_{e}\approx10^{11}-5\times10^{12}$ cm$^{-3}$ provide an ideal testbed for a range of astrophysical experiments including self-exciting dynamos, collisionless magnetic reconnection, jet stability, stellar winds, and more. This article describes the capabilities of WiPAL along with several experiments, in both operating and planning stages, that illustrate the range of possibilities for future users.
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##### Article: Magnetic reconnection in high-energy-density laser-produced plasmas
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ABSTRACT: Recently, novel experiments on magnetic reconnection have been conducted in laser-produced plasmas in a high-energy-density regime. Individual plasma bubbles self-generate toroidal, mega-gauss-scale magnetic fields through the Biermann battery effect. When multiple bubbles are created at small separation, they expand into one another, driving reconnection of this field. Reconnection in the experiments was reported to be much faster than allowed by both Sweet-Parker, and even Hall-MHD theories, when normalized to the nominal magnetic fields self-generated by single bubbles. Through particle-in-cell simulations (both with and without a binary collision operator), we model the bubble interaction at parameters and geometry relevant to the experiments. This paper discusses in detail the reconnection regime of the laser-driven experiments and reports the qualitative features of simulations. We find substantial flux-pileup effects, which boost the relevant magnetic field for reconnection in the current sheet. When this is accounted for, the normalized reconnection rates are much more in line with standard two-fluid theory of reconnection. At the largest system sizes, we additionally find that the current sheet is prone to breakup into plasmoids.
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