Open Access

Collisionless driven reconnection in an open system

Earth, Planets and Space201453:BF03353254

DOI: 10.1186/BF03353254

Received: 30 May 2000

Accepted: 5 March 2001

Published: 26 June 2014

Abstract

Particle simulation studies of collisionless driven reconnection in an open system are presented. Collisionless reconnection evolves in two steps in accordance with the formation of two current layers, i.e., an ion current layer in the early ion phase and an electron current layer in the late electron phase. After the electron current layer is formed inside the ion current layer, the system relaxes gradually to a steady state when convergent plasma flow is driven by an external electric field with a narrow input window. On the other hand, when the convergent plasma flow is driven from the wide input window, magnetic reconnection takes place in an intermittent manner, due to the frequent formation of magnetic islands in the vicinity of neutral sheet.