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Physical Review Letters


A helical relaxed plasma state is observed in a long cylindrical volume. The cylinder is long enough so that the predicted minimum energy state is a close approximation to the infinite cylinder solution. The plasma is injected at v >= 50 km/s by a coaxial magnetized plasma gun located at one end of the cylindrical volume. The relaxed state is rapidly attained in 1-2 axial Alfven times after initiation of the plasma. Magnetic data are favorably compared with an analytical model. Magnetic data exhibit broadband fluctuations of the measured axial modes during the formation period. The broadband activity rapidly decays as the energy condenses into the lowest energy mode, which is in agreement with the minimum energy eigenstate of del x B = lambda B. DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.110.085002


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