Physics of Plasmas -- May 1999 -- Volume 6, Issue 5, pp. 1743-1750

Magnetic reconnection with Sweet-Parker characteristics in two-dimensional laboratory plasmas

Hantao Ji, Masaaki Yamada, Scott Hsu, Russell Kulsrud, Troy Carter, and Sorin Zaharia
Plasma Physics Laboratory, Princeton University, P.O. Box 451, Princeton, New Jersey 08543

(Received 16 November 1998; accepted 11 January 1999)

Magnetic reconnection has been studied experimentally in a well-controlled, two-dimensional laboratory magnetohydrodynamic plasma. The observations are found to be both qualitatively and quantitatively consistent with a generalized Sweet-Parker model which incorporates compressibility, downstream pressure, and the effective resistivity. The latter is significantly enhanced over its classical values in the collisionless limit. This generalized Sweet-Parker model also applies to the case in which a unidirectional, sizable third magnetic component is present. © 1999 American Institute of Physics.

PACS: 52.55.-s, 52.30.-q

Full paper: pdf file (289 Kb).