Instability of current sheets and formation of plasmoid chains

N. F. Loureiro, A. A. Schekochihin, King's College, S. C. Cowley

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538 Scopus citations


Current sheets formed in magnetic reconnection events are found to be unstable to high-wavenumber perturbations. The instability is very fast: its maximum growth rate scales as S1/4vA/LCS, where LCS is the length of the sheet, vA the Alfvén speed, and S the Lundquist number. As a result, a chain of plasmoids (secondary islands) is formed, whose number scales as S3/8.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100703
JournalPhysics of Plasmas
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics


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