Magnetic Reconnection

Magnetic reconnection in the Earth's magnetotail (ESA/ATG medialab)

Magnetic reconnection is a fundamental energy conversion process in collisionless plasmas involving multi-scale processes. While the topology of the magnetic field changes take place inside a small region where electrons become unmagnetized, regions of acceleration and heating of plasma are distributed at larger scales, driving global plasma transport, such as magnetospheric convection, or leading to sporadic magnetic energy release on global scales such as substorms, flares and gamma ray bursts.

Among the different plasmas, Geospace is a natural plasma laboratory to study the ground truth of how magnetic reconnection operates in nature, since plasmas and fields in action can be directly measured at high cadence. For such in-situ observations, multi-point measurements, where temporal and spatial variations can be separated, are essential for detecting the complex energy conversion processes relevant to magnetic reconnection.

Members of space plasma physics group is actively working on data analysis from multi-point spacecraft measurements, Cluster, THEMIS, and MMS, and performing advance computer simulation to enable to us to study magnetic reconnection from small scale, ion and electron physics to large-scale consequence of the reconnection in the Near-Earth space.