Experimental study of the Hall effect and electron diffusion region during magnetic reconnection in a laboratory plasma

Yang Ren, Masaaki Yamada, Hantao Ji, Seth Dorfman, Stefan P. Gerhardt, Russel Kulsrud

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

The Hall effect during magnetic reconnection without an external guide field has been extensively studied in the laboratory plasma of the Magnetic Reconnection Experiment [M. Yamada, Phys. Plasmas 4, 1936 (1997)] by measuring its key signature, an out-of-plane quadrupole magnetic field, with magnetic probe arrays whose spatial resolution is on the order of the electron skin depth. The in-plane electron flow is deduced from out-of-plane magnetic field measurements. The measured in-plane electron flow and numerical results are in good agreement. The electron diffusion region is identified by measuring the electron outflow channel. The width of the electron diffusion region scales with the electron skin depth (∼5.5-7.5c ωpe) and the peak electron outflow velocity scales with the electron Alfv́n velocity (∼0.12-0.16 VeA), independent of ion mass. The measured width of the electron diffusion region is much wider and the observed electron outflow is much slower than those obtained in 2D numerical simulations. It is found that the classical and anomalous dissipation present in the experiment can broaden the electron diffusion region and slow the electron outflow. As a consequence, the electron outflow flux remains consistent with numerical simulations. The ions, as measured by a Mach probe, have a much wider outflow channel than the electrons, and their outflow is much slower than the electron outflow everywhere in the electron diffusion region.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number082113
JournalPhysics of Plasmas
Volume15
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 10 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics

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