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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
Article

Abstract

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.

Keywords

magnetic reconnection laser wakefield magnetic field generation 

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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

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