Fragmentation during merging of plasmoids in the magnetic field reconnection
Astronomical Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech
Received: 6 January 2012
Accepted: 28 March 2012
Context. Application of the magnetic-reconnection theory onto large-scale events, such as solar flares, requires formation of very thin (kinetic-scale) current sheets within the rather thick flare current layer. Hence, some fragmentation/filamentation mechanisms has to be in action.
Aims. We aim at identifying fragmentation mechanisms for magnetic field and current density structures. Namely, we focus at detailed study of the processes during the merging of plasmoids that had been formed in the current layer.
Methods. A 2.5-D electromagnetic particle-in-cell model is used and its results analysed.
Results. It is shown that the merging process of plasmoids is not a simple process as presented in some previous studies. On the contrary, this process leads to a complex fragmentation. We found two types of fragmentation processes: a) fragmentation in the current sheet generated between the merging plasmoids and b) fragmentation at the boundary of plasma outflow from the reconnection between these plasmoids. While the first type of fragmentation is generated by the tearing-mode (plasmoid) instability of the secondary current sheet, the second one looks to be connected with an increase of the plasma β parameter during these processes. Thus, sheared high-β plasma flows produce this additional fragmentation.
Conclusions. The fragmentation and energy transport from large to small scales in a large-scale magnetic reconnection seem to be the result of interplay and positive feedback between instabilities driven by high gradients in both magnetic (intense current density) and velocity (high vorticity) fields.
Key words: Sun: flares / magnetic reconnection
© ESO, 2012