Three-dimensional, impulsivemagnetic reconnection in a laboratory plasma

S. Dorfman, H. Ji, M. Yamada, J. Yoo, E. Lawrence, C. Myers, T. D. Tharp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Impulsive, local, 3-D reconnection is identified for the first time in a laboratory current sheet. The events observed in the Magnetic Reconnection Experiment are characterized by large local gradients in the third direction and cannot be explained by 2-D models. Detailed measurements show that the ejection of flux rope structures from the current sheet plays a key role in these events. By contrast, even though electromagnetic fluctuations in the lower hybrid frequency range are also observed concurrently with the impulsive behavior, they are not the key physics responsible. A qualitative, 3-D, two-fluid model is proposed to explain the observations. The experimental results may be particularly applicable to space and astrophysical plasmas where impulsive reconnection occurs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)233-238
Number of pages6
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 28 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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