1 May 2015 Magnetic reconnection research with petawatt-class lasers
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Abstract
Magnetic reconnection is regarded as a fundamental phenomenon in space and laboratory plasmas. It converts magnetic energy to kinetic energy of plasma particles through the topological rearrangements of the magnetic field lines. Magnetic reconnection is believed to play an important role in the solar systems, such as solar flares and coronal mass ejections. Observations of rapid energy release in solar flare and the global convection pattern within the magnetosphere are strongly suggestive that reconnection must be occurring. With the development of laser technology, high power laser facilities have made great progress in recent decades. Ultra powerful pulse with TW and PW are available now. As a result, the laser-matter interaction enters regimes of interest for laboratory astrophysics such as magnetic reconnection. J. Y. Zhong et al.1 reported an experiment about Xray source emission by reconnection outflows. Two intense lasers with long pulse duration are focused on the solid Aluminum target to generate hot electrons. In this paper, we employ a hydrogen foam target with near critical density to investigate the reconnection. Two parallel ultra intense pulses are injected into the target. By the effect of laser wakefield acceleration, two strong electron beam are generated and both of them induce a magnetic dipole structure. With the expansion of the dipole, magnetic field annihilation occurs in the center part of the target. The induced electric field and particle acceleration are detected in the simulations as evidence for magnetic reconnection. The effects of separation distance between two laser pulses and laser intensity on magnetic reconnection are also discussed.
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Yanjun Gu, Ondrej Klimo, Deepak Kumar, Yue Liu, Sushil Singh, Sergei V. Bulanov, Timur Zh. Esirkepov, Stefan Weber, Georg Korn, "Magnetic reconnection research with petawatt-class lasers", Proc. SPIE 9515, Research Using Extreme Light: Entering New Frontiers with Petawatt-Class Lasers II, 95151H (1 May 2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2178375; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2178375
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