Magnetic reconnection

Masaaki Yamada, Russell Kulsrud, Hantao Ji

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

812 Scopus citations


The fundamental physics of magnetic reconnection in laboratory and space plasmas is reviewed by discussing results from theory, numerical simulations, observations from space satellites, and recent results from laboratory plasma experiments. After a brief review of the well-known early work, representative recent experimental and theoretical works are discussed and the essence of significant modern findings are interpreted. In the area of local reconnection physics, many findings have been made with regard to two-fluid physics and are related to the cause of fast reconnection. Profiles of the neutral sheet, Hall currents, and the effects of guide field, collisions, and microturbulence are discussed to understand the fundamental processes in a local reconnection layer in both space and laboratory plasmas. While the understanding of the global reconnection dynamics is less developed, notable findings have been made on this issue through detailed documentation of magnetic self-organization phenomena in fusion plasmas. Application of magnetic reconnection physics to astrophysical plasmas is also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)603-664
Number of pages62
JournalReviews of Modern Physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 5 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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