Recent theory has demonstrated a novel physics regime for magnetic reconnection in high-energy-density plasmas where the magnetic field is advected by heat flux via the Nernst effect. Here we elucidate the physics of the electron dissipation layer in this regime. Through fully kinetic simulation and a generalized Ohm's law derived from first principles, we show that momentum transport due to a nonlocal effect, the heat-flux-viscosity, provides the dissipation mechanism for magnetic reconnection. Scaling analysis, and simulations show that the reconnection process comprises a magnetic field compression stage and quasisteady reconnection stage, and the characteristic width of the current sheet in this regime is several electron mean-free paths. These results show the important interplay between nonlocal transport effects and generation of anisotropic components to the distribution function.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
- Statistics and Probability
- Condensed Matter Physics