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.
Relativistic solitons arising from the interaction of an intense laser pulse with underdense plasmas are investigated. We show the formation and evolution of the relativistic solitons in a collisionless cold plasma with two dimensional particle-in-cell simulations. Such a kind of solitons will evolve into postsolitons if the time scale is longer than the ion response time. Generally, a substantial part of the pulse energy is transformed into solitons during the soliton formation. This fairly high efficiency of electromagnetic energy transformation can play an important role in the interaction between the laser pulse and the plasma. The energy exchange between the electromagnetic field and the kinetic energy of the soliton is discussed. In homogeneous plasmas, the solitons tend to stay close to the region where they are generated and dissipate due to the interaction with surrounding particles eventually. While the laser pulse propagates through inhomogeneous plasmas, the solitons are accelerated along the plasma density gradient towards lower density.