Magnetic field annihilation and reconnection driven by femtosecond lasers in inhomogeneous plasma

  • YouYuan Wang
  • FeiYu Li
  • Min Chen
  • SuMing Weng
  • QuanMing Lu
  • QuanLi Dong
  • ZhengMing Sheng
  • Jie Zhang


The process of fast magnetic reconnection driven by intense ultra-short laser pulses in underdense plasma is investigated by particle-in-cell simulations. In the wakefield of such laser pulses, quasi-static magnetic fields at a few mega-Gauss are generated due to nonvanishing cross product ∆(n /γ) × p. Excited in an inhomogeneous plasma of decreasing density, the quasi-static magnetic field structure is shown to drift quickly both in lateral and longitudinal directions. When two parallel-propagating laser pulses with close focal spot separation are used, such field drifts can develop into magnetic reconnection (annihilation) in their overlapping region, resulting in the conversion of magnetic energy to kinetic energy of particles. The reconnection rate is found to be much higher than the value obtained in the Hall magnetic reconnection model. Our work proposes a potential way to study magnetic reconnection-related physics with short-pulse lasers of terawatt peak power only.


magnetic reconnection laser wakefield magnetic field generation 


  1. 1.
    M. Yamada, Phys. Plasmas 14, 058102 (2007).ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Y. L. Ping, J. Y. Zhong, Z. M. Sheng, X. G. Wang, B. Liu, Y. T. Li, X. Q. Yan, X. T. He, J. Zhang, and G. Zhao, Phys. Rev. E 89, 031101 (2014).ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    J. Zhong, Y. Li, X. Wang, J. Wang, Q. Dong, C. Xiao, S. Wang, X. Liu, L. Zhang, L. An, F. Wang, J. Zhu, Y. Gu, X. He, G. Zhao, and J. Zhang, Nat. Phys. 6, 984 (2010).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    E. N. Parker, J. Geophys. Res. 62, 509 (1957).ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    J. B. Taylor, Rev. Mod. Phys. 58, 741 (1986).ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Q. L. Dong, S. J. Wang, Q. M. Lu, C. Huang, D. W. Yuan, X. Liu, X. X. Lin, Y. T. Li, H. G. Wei, J. Y. Zhong, J. R. Shi, S. E. Jiang, Y. K. Ding, B. B. Jiang, K. Du, X. T. He, M. Y. Yu, C. S. Liu, S. Wang, Y. J. Tang, J. Q. Zhu, G. Zhao, Z. M. Sheng, and J. Zhang, Phys. Rev. Lett. 108, 215001 (2012), arXiv: 1203.4036.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    P. M. Nilson, L. Willingale, M. C. Kaluza, C. Kamperidis, S. Minardi, M. S. Wei, P. Fernandes, M. Notley, S. Bandyopadhyay, M. Sherlock, R. J. Kingham, M. Tatarakis, Z. Najmudin, W. Rozmus, R. G. Evans, M. G. Haines, A. E. Dangor, and K. Krushelnick, Phys. Plasmas 15, 092701 (2008).ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    X. X. Pei, J. Y. Zhong, Y. Sakawa, Z. Zhang, K. Zhang, H. G. Wei, Y. T. Li, Y. F. Li, B. J. Zhu, T. Sano, Y. Hara, S. Kondo, S. Fujioka, G. Y. Liang, F. L. Wang, and G. Zhao, Phys. Plasmas 23, 032125 (2016).ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    R. L. Richard, R. D. Sydora, and M. Ashour-Abdalla, Phys. Fluids B-Plasma Phys. 2, 488 (1990).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    W. Fox, A. Bhattacharjee, and K. Germaschewski, Phys. Plasmas 19, 056309 (2012).ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    C. K. Li, F. H. Séguin, J. A. Frenje, J. R. Rygg, R. D. Petrasso, R. P. J. Town, O. L. Landen, J. P. Knauer, and V. A. Smalyuk, Phys. Rev. Lett. 99, 055001 (2007).ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    M. G. Haines, Phys. Rev. Lett. 78, 254 (1997).ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    X. G. Wang, C. J. Xiao, Z. Y. Pu, and J. Q. Wang, Chin. Sci. Bull. 57, 1369 (2012).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    K. Huang, C. Huang, Q. Dong, Q. Lu, S. Lu, Z. Sheng, S. Wang, and J. Zhang, Phys. Plasmas 24, 041406 (2017).ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    S. Lu, Q. Lu, C. Huang, Q. Dong, J. Zhu, Z. Sheng, S. Wang, and J. Zhang, New J. Phys. 16, 083021 (2014).ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    S. Lu, Q. Lu, F. Guo, Z. Sheng, H. Wang, and S. Wang, New J. Phys. 18, 013051 (2016).ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Y. J. Gu, O. Klimo, D. Kumar, S. V. Bulanov, T. Z. Esirkepov, S. Weber, and G. Korn, Phys. Plasmas 22, 103113 (2015).ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Y. J. Gu, Q. Yu, O. Klimo, T. Z. Esirkepov, S. V. Bulanov, S. Weber, and G. Korn, High Pow Laser Sci. Eng. 4, e19 (2016).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Y. Q. Cui, Z. M. Sheng, Q. M. Lu, Y. T. Li, and J. Zhang, Sci. China-Phys. Mech. Astron. 58, 105201 (2015), arXiv: 1506.00049.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    S. Mondal, V. Narayanan, W. J. Ding, A. D. Lad, B. Hao, S. Ahmad, W. M. Wang, Z. M. Sheng, S. Sengupta, P. Kaw, A. Das, and G. R. Kumar, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 109, 8011 (2012).ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Z. M. Sheng, J. Meyer-Ter-Vehn, and A. Pukhov, Phys. Plasmas 5, 3764 (1998).ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    S. K. Yadav, A. Das, and P. Kaw, Phys. Plasmas 15, 062308 (2008), arXiv: 0804.3934.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    J. Nycander, and M. B. Isichenko, Phys. Fluids B-Plasma Phys. 2, 2042 (1990).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    T. Tajima, and J. M. Dawson, Phys. Rev. Lett. 43, 267 (1979).ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Z. M. Sheng, K. Mima, Y. Sentoku, K. Nishihara, and J. Zhang, Phys. Plasmas 9, 3147 (2002).ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    R. A. Fonseca, L. O. Silva, F. S. Tsung, V. K. Decyk, W. Lu, C. Ren, W. B. Mori, S. Deng, S. Lee, T. Katsouleas, and J. C. Adam, in Lecture Notes in Computer Science: Proceedings of International Conference on Computational Science (ICCS) 2002 (Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg), 2331: 342–351.zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    F. F. Chen, Introduction to Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion, 2nd ed (Plenum Press, New York, 1984).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Q. M. Lu, R. S. Wang, J. L. Xie, C. Huang, S. Lu, and S. Wang, Chin. Sci. Bull. 56, 1174 (2011).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    J. Guo, Chin. Sci. Bull. 54, 456 (2009).Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    H. Che, J. F. Drake, and M. Swisdak, Nature 474, 184 (2011).ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    J. D. Huba, and L. I. Rudakov, Phys. Rev. Lett. 93, 175003 (2004).ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Science China Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • YouYuan Wang
    • 1
    • 2
  • FeiYu Li
    • 3
  • Min Chen
    • 1
    • 2
  • SuMing Weng
    • 1
    • 2
  • QuanMing Lu
    • 4
  • QuanLi Dong
    • 2
    • 5
  • ZhengMing Sheng
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Jie Zhang
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Key Laboratory for Laser Plasmas (Ministry of Education) and School of Physics and AstronomyShanghai Jiao Tong UniversityShanghaiChina
  2. 2.Collaborative Innovation Center of IFSA (CICIFSA)Shanghai Jiao Tong UniversityShanghaiChina
  3. 3.Scottish Universities Physics Alliance (SUPA), Department of PhysicsUniversity of StrathclydeGlasgowUK
  4. 4.Key Lab of Geospace Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Department of Geophysics and Planetary ScienceUniversity of Science and Technology of ChinaHefeiChina
  5. 5.School of Physics and Optoelectronic EngineeringLudong UniversityYantaiChina

Personalised recommendations