Reversible magnetic reconnection is demonstrated for the first time by means of gyrokinetic numerical simulations of a collisionless magnetized plasma. Growth of a current-driven instability in a sheared magnetic field is accompanied by magnetic reconnection due to electron inertia effects. Following the instability growth, the collisionless reconnection is accelerated with development of a cross-shaped structure of current density, and then all field lines are reconnected. The fully reconnected state is followed by the secondary reconnection resulting in a weakly turbulent state. A time-reversed simulation starting from the turbulent state manifests that the collisionless reconnection process proceeds inversely leading to the initial state. During the reversed reconnection, the kinetic energy is reconverted into the original magnetic field energy. In order to understand the stability of reversed process, an external perturbation is added to the fully reconnected state, and it is found that the accelerated reconnection is reversible when the deviation of the E × B streamlines due to the perturbation is comparable with or smaller than a current layer width.
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Research Article| October 18 2013
Reversible collisionless magnetic reconnection
A. Ishizawa, T.-H. Watanabe; Reversible collisionless magnetic reconnection. Phys. Plasmas 1 October 2013; 20 (10): 102116. https://doi.org/10.1063/1.4826201
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