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Physics of Plasmas


Several new experimental results are reported from spheromak merging studies at the Swarthmore SpheromakExperiment[M. R. Brown, Phys. Plasmas6, 1717 (1999)] with relevance to three-dimensional (3D) reconnection in laboratory and space plasmas. First, recent velocity measurements of impurity ions using ion Doppler spectroscopy are reported. Bidirectional outflow at nearly the Alfvén speed is clearly observed. Second, experimental measurements of the out-of-plane magnetic field in a reconnection volume showing a quadrupolar structure at the ion inertial scale are discussed. Third, a measurement of in-plane Hall electric field and nonideal terms of the generalized Ohm’s law in a reconnection volume of a weakly collisional laboratory plasma is presented. Time resolved vector magnetic field measurements on a 3D lattice [B(r,t)] enables evaluation of the various terms. Results show that the Hall electric field dominates everywhere (J×B∕ne) and also exhibits a quadrupolar structure at the ion inertial scale; resistive and electron inertia terms are small. Each of these is related to and compared with similar measurements in a solar or space context.


This article is freely available courtesy of the American Physical Society, Division of Plasma Physics, and the American Institute of Physics.

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