Nonlinear variational method for predicting fast collisionless magnetic reconnection

M. Hirota, P. J. Morrison, Y. Ishii, M. Yagi, N. Aiba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


A mechanism for fast magnetic reconnection in collisionless plasma is studied for understanding sawtooth collapse in tokamak discharges using a two-fluid model for cold ions and electrons. Explosive growth of the tearing mode enabled by electron inertia is analytically estimated using an energy principle with a nonlinear displacement map. Decrease in the potential energy in the nonlinear regime (where the island width exceeds the electron skin depth) is found to be steeper than in the linear regime, resulting in accelerated reconnection. Release of potential energy by such a fluid displacement leads to unsteady and strong convective flow, which is not damped by the small dissipation effects in high-temperature tokamak plasmas. Direct numerical simulation in slab geometry substantiates the theoretical prediction of the nonlinear growth.

Original languageEnglish
Article number063024
JournalNuclear Fusion
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Jun
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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