Identification of Y-Shaped and O-Shaped Diffusion Regions During Magnetic Reconnection in a Laboratory Plasma

Masaaki Yamada, Hantao Ji, Scott Hsu, Troy Carter, Russell Kulsrud, Yasushi Ono, Francis Perkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

64 Scopus citations

Abstract

Two strikingly different shapes of diffusion regions are identified during magnetic reconnection in a magnetohydrodynamic laboratory plasma. The shapes depend on the third vector component of the reconnecting magnetic fields. Without the third component (antiparallel or null-helicity reconnection), a thin double-Y "shaped diffusion region is identified. In this case, the neutral sheet current profile is accurately measured to be as narrow as the order of the ion gyro-radius. In the presence of an appreciable third component (cohelicity reconnection), an O-shaped diffusion region appears and grows into a spheromak configuration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3117-3120
Number of pages4
JournalPhysical review letters
Volume78
Issue number16
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 21 1997

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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