Magnetic Reconnection: A Mechanism for Converting Magnetic Energy into Kinetic Energy of Charged Particles in Plasmas
Dr. Nagendra Singh
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
25 February 2011
218 Shelby Center
3:00 (Refreshements at 2:30)
Quite often in plasmas, magnetic field configurations consist of anti-parallel magnetic fields sandwiching large currents. Examples of such configurations occur in laboratory fusion plasmas (tokomaks), solar corona and Earth's magnetosphere. When the currents in the magnetic configuration become sufficiently large, an explosion occurs and the energy stored in the magnetic field is converted into kinetic energy of electrons and ions in the plasma forming energetic plasma jets. Such plasma jets constitute the loss of confined plasma in fusion machines and drive solar flares and geomagnetic storms. We will describe a new method for predicting the rate at which the anti-parallel magnetic field lines break and reconnect during the explosion. The method is based on group velocity cones of whistler, kinetic Alfven or slow MHD plasma modes, depending on the plasma conditions. We will suggest an unsolved difficult theoretical problem dealing with the radiation of above wave modes from the current perturbations created at the onset of the reconnection. The problem involves solutions of time-dependent Maxwell equations in highly inhomogeneous plasmas.
- Hits: 95