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Plasma Science and Fusion Center

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

 
 

Magnetic Reconnection experiments on vtf

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At high temperatures plasmas are generally "frozen" to magnetic field lines. Many plasmas, however, can occasionally break free rapidly in a process called "magnetic reconnection."

Jan
Professor Jan Egedal works atop VTF.

Based on experiments on the Versatile Toroidal Facility (VTF), the group led by Professor Jan Egedal has gained significant new insight into the fundamental mechanisms that allow magnetic field lines to break and reconnect at rapid rates. The experiments show that kinetic effects related to particle orbits can cause the breakdown of the classical theories. A new theoretical model of reconnection, developed on the basis of the experimental findings in VTF, is now successfully being applied in the interpretation of recent satellite data obtained during reconnection in the Earth's magnetotail. A new experimental configuration in VTF aims to understand the role that turbulence may play in expediting rapid reconnection.

 

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