RSX experiment

Posted on Feb 5, 2014

Magnetic reconnection refers to the local breaking of magnetic field lines and subsequent change in the global topology of the magnetic field in the presence of plasmas or conducting fluids. During this process, magnetic field lines of opposite polarity are convected toward each other by fluid flow in the so-called diffusion region. This region is centered around a neutral

RSX experiment
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magnetic line, across which the reconnecting component of the magnetic field changes sign. In the diffusion region, the "frozen-in" condition of ideal MagnetoHydroDynamics (MHD) equations is broken. The magnetic field can diffuse through the plasma allowing the annihilation of opposite directed magnetic field lines and conversion of magnetic field energy into Ohmic heating and particle acceleration. During the last four decades, a large effort has been devoted to study magnetic reconnection in plasmas since it is considered to play a crucial role in a variety of different astrophysical and laboratory phenomena. Examples are in the evolution of solar flares, in the dynamics of the earth magnetosphere and in the redistribution of the energy in the universe. In magnetically confined laboratory plasmas for fusion research, a major role is played by magnetic reconnection in determining the dynamics of relaxation processes, such as sawtooth oscillations and major disruptions in tokamaks or dynamo effects in Reversed Field Pinches. Early 3D laboratory experiments on magnetic reconnection provided detailed measurements of the relaxation to a force-free state produced by the coalescence of two current channels inthe LPD linear device. Interacting current channels were produced by coating a large cathode source nonuniformly and then biasing it with respect to an external anode. Although 3D features of magnetic reconnection were...

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