Electromagnetic perturbations in the reconnecting current sheet in MRX

Seth Dorfman, Hantao Ji, Masaaki Yamada, Yang Ren, Stefan Gerhardt, Russell Kulsrud, Brendan McGeehan, Yansong Wang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations


Magnetic reconnection is a fundamental plasma process in which magnetic field lines break and reconnect, converting magnetic field energy into particle kinetic energy. Electromagnetic fluctuations, which may play a role in fast reconnection, are studied from both an experimental and theoretical standpoint. The waves, which are in the lower hybrid range of frequencies, may be produced by a plasma instability known as the oblique lower hybrid drift instability. When the electron drift velocity is large, the theory predicts coupling between whistler and acoustic waves in the ion frame that may lead to an instability in the vicinity of the current sheet. On the experimental side, an antenna placed in the Magnetic Reconnection Experiment (MRX) at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory is used to apply perturbations, and their propagation characteristics are measured. Results from a 2mm diameter antenna indicate that any induced fluctuations are confined to the current sheet and are preferentially excited in the direction of electron flow within the layer. Preliminary data from a 2cm diameter antenna shows a wave propagating in the electron flow direction at the local electron drift velocity. Thus electron drift appears to play a crucial role in the appearance of fluctuations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationTHEORY OF FUSION PLASMAS
Subtitle of host publicationJoint Varenna-Lausanne International Workshop
Number of pages6
StatePublished - 2006
EventTHEORY OF FUSION PLASMAS: Joint Varenna-Lausanne International Workshop - Varenna, Italy
Duration: Aug 28 2006Sep 1 2006

Publication series

NameAIP Conference Proceedings
ISSN (Print)0094-243X
ISSN (Electronic)1551-7616


OtherTHEORY OF FUSION PLASMAS: Joint Varenna-Lausanne International Workshop

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


  • Electromagnetic fluctuations
  • Magnetic reconnection
  • Oblique lower hybrid drift insta-bility


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