Guide field effects on the distribution of plasmoids in multiple scale reconnection

Stephen Majeski, Hantao Ji, Jonathan Jara-Almonte, Jongsoo Yoo

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6 Scopus citations


The effects of a finite guide field on the distribution of plasmoids in high-Lundquist-number current sheets undergoing magnetic reconnection in large plasmas are investigated with statistical models. Merging of plasmoids is taken into account either assuming that guide field flux is conserved resulting in nonforce-free profiles in general, or that magnetic helicity is conserved and Taylor relaxation occurs to convert part of the summed guide field flux into reconnecting field flux toward minimum energy states resulting in force-free profiles. It is found that the plasmoid distribution in terms of reconnecting field flux follows a power law with index 7/4 or 1 depending on whether merger frequencies are independent of or dependent on their relative velocity to the outflow speed, respectively. This result is approximately the same for the force-free and nonforce-free models, with nonforce-free models exhibiting indices of 2 and 1 for the same velocity dependencies. Distributions in terms of guide field flux yield indices of 3/2 for the nonforce-free model regardless of velocity dependence. This is notably distinct from the indices of 11/8 and 1 for the force-free models independent of and dependent on velocity, respectively. At low guide field fluxes, the force-free models exhibit a second power law index of 1/2 due to nonconstant flux growth rates. The velocity-dependent force-free model predicts the production of slightly more rapidly moving large guide field flux plasmoids which are supported by observational evidence of flux ropes with strong core fields. Implications are discussed on particle acceleration via Fermi processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number092106
JournalPhysics of Plasmas
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics


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