Experimental study of ion heating and acceleration during magnetic reconnection

S. C. Hsu, T. A. Carter, G. Fiksel, H. Ji, R. M. Kulsrud, M. Yamada

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47 Scopus citations


Ion heating and acceleration has been studied in the well-characterized reconnection layer of the Magnetic Reconnection Experiment [M. Yamada et al., Phys. Plasmas 4, 1936 (1997)]. Ion temperature in the layer rises substantially during null-helicity reconnection in which reconnecting field lines are anti-parallel. The plasma outflow is sub-Alfvénic due to a downstream back pressure. An ion energy balance calculation based on the data and including classical viscous heating indicates that ions are heated largely via nonclassical mechanisms. The Ti rise is much smaller during co-helicity reconnection in which field lines reconnect obliquely. This is consistent with a slower reconnection rate and a smaller resistivity enhancement over the Spitzer value. These observations show that nonclassical dissipation mechanisms can play an important role both in heating the ions and in facilitating the reconnection process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1916-1928
Number of pages13
JournalPhysics of Plasmas
Issue number5 II
StatePublished - May 2001
Event42nd Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Plasma Physics - Quebec, Que, Canada
Duration: Oct 23 2000Oct 27 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics


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