Magnetic reconnection between colliding magnetized laser-produced plasma plumes

G. Fiksel, W. Fox, A. Bhattacharjee, D. H. Barnak, P. Y. Chang, K. Germaschewski, S. X. Hu, P. M. Nilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Citations (Scopus)


Observations of magnetic reconnection between colliding plumes of magnetized laser-produced plasma are presented. Two counterpropagating plasma flows are created by irradiating oppositely placed plastic (CH) targets with 1.8-kJ, 2-ns laser beams on the Omega EP Laser System. The interaction region between the plumes is prefilled with a low-density background plasma and magnetized by an externally applied magnetic field, imposed perpendicular to the plasma flow, and initialized with an X-type null point geometry with B=0 at the midplane and B=8T at the targets. The counterflowing plumes sweep up and compress the background plasma and the magnetic field into a pair of magnetized ribbons, which collide, stagnate, and reconnect at the midplane, allowing the first detailed observations of a stretched current sheet in laser-driven reconnection experiments. The dynamics of current sheet formation are in good agreement with first-principles particle-in-cell simulations that model the experiments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105003
JournalPhysical review letters
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Sept 4

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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