Current disruption and its spreading in collisionless magnetic reconnection

Neeraj Jain, Jörg Büchner, Seth Dorfman, Hantao Ji, A. Surjalal Sharma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Recent magnetic reconnection experiments (MRX) [Dorfman, Geophys. Res. Lett. 40, 233 (2013)] have disclosed current disruption in the absence of an externally imposed guide field. During current disruption in MRX, both the current density and the total observed out-of-reconnection-plane current drop simultaneous with a rise in out-of-reconnection-plane electric field. Here, we show that current disruption is an intrinsic property of the dynamic formation of an X-point configuration of magnetic field in magnetic reconnection, independent of the model used for plasma description and of the dimensionality (2D or 3D) of reconnection. An analytic expression for the current drop is derived from Ampere's Law. Its predictions are verified by 2D and 3D electron-magnetohydrodynamic (EMHD) simulations. Three dimensional EMHD simulations show that the current disruption due to localized magnetic reconnection spreads along the direction of the electron drift velocity with a speed which depends on the wave number of the perturbation. The implications of these results for MRX are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number112101
JournalPhysics of Plasmas
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics


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