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Theoretical studies of collisionless reconnection in the framework of two-fluid theory are presented. In the high-beta case (beta is greater or approximately equal to 1) reconnection is controlled by the whistler mode, leading to decoupling of ions from electrons on scales greater than c/w(pi). Though reconnection requires electron inertia, the reconnection rate is independent thereof, controlled only by ion inertia. Reconnection is hence much faster than in the absence of the Hall term. In the opposite limit of small beta the strong axial field suppresses the whistler mode. Hence ions have to follow the electrons in the narrow reconnection layer delta approximately c/w(pe), forming a macroscopic current sheet which strongly reduces the reconnection rate. Theoretical scaling laws are confirmed by numerical simulations.

Additional information

Authors: BISKAMP D, Max-Planck-Institut für Plasmaphysik, Garching bei München (DE);SCHWARZ E, Max-Planck-Institut für Plasmaphysik, Garching bei München (DE);DRAKE J F, Institute for Plasma Research, University of Maryland (US)
Bibliographic Reference: Article: Physics of Plasmas, Vol. 4 (1997) No. 4, pp. 1002-1009
Record Number: 199710968 / Last updated on: 1997-08-14
Original language: en
Available languages: en