Skip to main content

Advertisement

We’d like to understand how you use our websites in order to improve them. Register your interest.

3D EMHD reconnection in a laboratory plasma

Abstract

In a large laboratory plasma, reconnection of three-dimensional (3D) magnetic fields is studied in the parameter regime of electron magnetohydrodynamics (EMHD). The field topologies are spheromak-like with two-dimensional null lines and three-dimensional spiral null points. The relaxation of an initial vortex field by spontaneous reconnection is studied in the absence of boundary effects. Reconnection rates and energy conversion from fields to particles are measured. The frozen-in condition appears to be destroyed by viscous effects rather than inertia or collision. Finally, the non-driven merging of two EMHD spheromaks into a long-lived FRC is observed. These basic physics experiments demonstrate that reconnection is an important process in the parameter regime of unmagnetized ions, which is always encountered near absolute magnetic null points.

References

  1. Biskamp, D., E. Schwarz, and J. F. Drake, Two-dimensional electron magnetohydrodynamic turbulence, Phys. Rev. Lett., 76, 1264–1267, 1996.

  2. Bulanov, S. V., V. V. Pichushkin, and K. Schindler, Magnetic field line reconnection in structurally unstable magnetic configurations, Plasma Physics Reports, 22, 885–896, 1996.

  3. Drake, J. F., D. Biskamp, and A. Zeiler, Breakup of the electron current layer during 3-D collisionless magnetic reconnection, Geophys. Res. Lett., 24, 2921–2924, 1997.

  4. Ji, H., M. Yamada, R. Kulsrud, N. Pomphrey, and H. Himura, Studies of global stability of field-reversed configuration plasmas using rigid body model, Phys. Plasmas, 5, 3685–3693, 1998.

  5. Kingsep, A. S., K. V. Chukbar, and V. V. Yan’kov, Electron magnetohydrodynamics, in Reviews of Plasma Physics, 16, edited by B. B. Kadomtsev, pp. 243–291, Consultants Bureau, New York, 1990.

  6. Parnell, C. E., J. M. Smith, T. Neukirch, and E. R. Priest, The structure of three-dimensional magnetic null points, Phys. Plasmas, 3, 759–770, 1996.

  7. Rousculp, C. L., R. L. Stenzel, and J. M. Urrutia, Pulsed currents carried by whistlers. V: Detailed new results of magnetic antenna excitation, Phys. Plasmas, 2, 4083–4093, 1995.

  8. Stenzel, R. L. and J. M. Urrutia, Force-free electromagnetic pulses in a laboratory plasma, Phys. Rev. Lett., 65, 2011–2014, 1990.

  9. Stenzel, R. L. and J. M. Urrutia, Laboratory studies of magnetic vortices. I. Directional radiation of whistler waves based on helicity injection, Phys. Plasmas, 6, 2989–2996, 1999.

  10. Stenzel, R. L., W. Gekelman, and N. Wild, Magnetic field line reconnection experiments. IV. Resistivity, heating, and energy flow, J. Geophys. Res., 85, 111–117, 1982.

  11. Stenzel, R. L., W. Gekelman, and J. M. Urrutia, Lessons from laboratory experiments on reconnection, Adv. Space Res., 6, 135–147, 1986.

  12. Stenzel, R. L., J. M. Urrutia, and M. C. Griskey, Laboratory studies of magnetic vortices. II. Helicity reversal during reflection of a magnetic vortex at a conducting boundary, Phys. Plasmas, 6, 4458–4466, 1999.

  13. Urrutia, J. M., R. L. Stenzel, and C. L. Rousculp, Pulsed currents carried by whistlers. II. Excitation by biased electrodes, Phys. Plasmas, 1, 1432–1438, 1994.

  14. Urrutia, J. M., R. L. Stenzel, and M. C. Griskey, Laboratory studies of magnetic vortices. III. Collisions of electron magnetohydrodynamic vortices, Phys. Plasmas, 7, 519–528, 2000.

  15. Vasyliunas, V. M., Theoretical models of magnetic field line merging, I, Rev. Geophys. Space Phys., 13, 303–336, 1975.

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to R. L. Stenzel.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Stenzel, R.L., Urrutia, J.M., Griskey, M.C. et al. 3D EMHD reconnection in a laboratory plasma. Earth Planet Sp 53, 553–560 (2001). https://doi.org/10.1186/BF03353269

Download citation

Keywords

  • Vortex
  • Current Sheet
  • Null Point
  • Reconnection Rate
  • Null Line