Experimental Verification of the Role of Electron Pressure in Fast Magnetic Reconnection with a Guide Field

W. Fox, F. Sciortino, V. A. Stechow, J. Jara-Almonte, J. Yoo, H. Ji, M. Yamada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

We report detailed laboratory observations of the structure of a reconnection current sheet in a two-fluid plasma regime with a guide magnetic field. We observe and quantitatively analyze the quadrupolar electron pressure variation in the ion-diffusion region, as originally predicted by extended magnetohydrodynamics simulations. The projection of the electron pressure gradient parallel to the magnetic field contributes significantly to balancing the parallel electric field, and the resulting cross-field electron jets in the reconnection layer are diamagnetic in origin. These results demonstrate how parallel and perpendicular force balance are coupled in guide field reconnection and confirm basic theoretical models of the importance of electron pressure gradients for obtaining fast magnetic reconnection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number125002
JournalPhysical review letters
Volume118
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 21 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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