Coalescence of magnetic flux ropes in the ion diffusion region of magnetic reconnection

Rongsheng Wang, Quanming Lu, Rumi Nakamura, Can Huang, Aimin Du, Fan Guo, Teh Wai Leong, Mingyu Wu, San Lu, Shui Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

49 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Magnetic reconnection is an important process in space and laboratory plasmas that effectively converts magnetic energy into plasma kinetic energy within a current sheet. Theoretical work suggested that reconnection occurs through the growth and overlap of magnetic flux ropes that deconstruct magnetic surfaces in the current sheet and enable the diffusion of the magnetic field lines between two sides of the sheet. This scenario was also proposed as a primary mechanism for accelerating energetic particles during reconnection, but experimental evidence has remained elusive. Here, we identify a total of 19 flux ropes during reconnection in the magnetotail. We found that the majority of the ropes are embedded in the Hall magnetic field region and 63% of them are coalescing. These observations show that the diffusion region is filled with flux ropes and that their interaction is intrinsic to the reconnection dynamics, leading to turbulence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-267
Number of pages5
JournalNature Physics
Volume12
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016

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current sheets
coalescing
magnetic flux
space laboratories
space plasmas
magnetotails
energetic particles
magnetic fields
ions
kinetic energy
turbulence
interactions
energy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

Cite this

Wang, R., Lu, Q., Nakamura, R., Huang, C., Du, A., Guo, F., ... Wang, S. (2016). Coalescence of magnetic flux ropes in the ion diffusion region of magnetic reconnection. Nature Physics, 12(3), 263-267. https://doi.org/10.1038/nphys3578

Coalescence of magnetic flux ropes in the ion diffusion region of magnetic reconnection. / Wang, Rongsheng; Lu, Quanming; Nakamura, Rumi; Huang, Can; Du, Aimin; Guo, Fan; Wai Leong, Teh; Wu, Mingyu; Lu, San; Wang, Shui.

In: Nature Physics, Vol. 12, No. 3, 01.03.2016, p. 263-267.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Wang, R, Lu, Q, Nakamura, R, Huang, C, Du, A, Guo, F, Wai Leong, T, Wu, M, Lu, S & Wang, S 2016, 'Coalescence of magnetic flux ropes in the ion diffusion region of magnetic reconnection', Nature Physics, vol. 12, no. 3, pp. 263-267. https://doi.org/10.1038/nphys3578
Wang, Rongsheng ; Lu, Quanming ; Nakamura, Rumi ; Huang, Can ; Du, Aimin ; Guo, Fan ; Wai Leong, Teh ; Wu, Mingyu ; Lu, San ; Wang, Shui. / Coalescence of magnetic flux ropes in the ion diffusion region of magnetic reconnection. In: Nature Physics. 2016 ; Vol. 12, No. 3. pp. 263-267.
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