Researchers use highly effective lasers to review magnetic reconnection

Researchers use highly effective lasers to review magnetic reconnection

Magnetic reconnection in solar flares

Screenshot from NASA’s Conceptual Imagery Lab on “Magnetic Restoration Throughout the Photo voltaic System”. Magnetic reconnection happens when antiparallel magnetic fields—on this case, present in photo voltaic flares—collide, break aside, and realign. The method causes a high-energy explosion that scatters particles into house. Credit score: NASA Conceptual Picture Lab

Scientists use highly effective laser beams to create miniature photo voltaic flares in an effort to examine the method of magnetic rewiring.

Scientists used twelve highly effective laser beams to simulate miniature photo voltaic flares to research the underlying mechanisms of magnetic reconnection, a basic astronomical phenomenon.

Opposite to fashionable perception, the universe shouldn’t be empty. Regardless of the phrase “the huge void of house,” the universe is filled with numerous substances, reminiscent of charged particles, gases, and cosmic rays. Though celestial objects could appear few and much between, the universe is teeming with exercise.

One such motor of particles and vitality via house is a phenomenon referred to as magnetic reconnection. Because the title suggests, magnetic reconnection is when two antiparallel magnetic fields—as in two magnetic fields touring in reverse instructions—collide, break, and realign. As innocent because it sounds, it’s removed from a peaceable course of.

“This phenomenon is noticed in every single place within the universe. At dwelling, they are often seen in photo voltaic flares or within the Earth’s magnetosphere. Because the photo voltaic flare builds up and seems to ‘clamp’ the flare, that is magnetic reconnection,” explains Taichi Marita, affiliate professor on the division Kyushu College School of Engineering and first writer of the examine. “Actually, the auroras are produced by the ejection of charged particles from a magnetic reconnection within the Earth’s magnetic discipline.”

Nevertheless, regardless of being a standard incidence, most of the mechanisms behind this phenomenon stay a thriller. Analysis is being carried out, as in[{” attribute=””>NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission, where magnetic reconnections are studied in real-time by satellites sent into Earth’s magnetosphere. However, things such as the speed of reconnection or how energy from the magnetic field is converted and distributed to the particles in the plasma remain unexplained.

An alternative to sending satellites into space is to use lasers and artificially generate plasma arcs that produce magnetic reconnections. However, without suitable laser strength, the generated plasma is too small and unstable to study the phenomena accurately.

“One facility that has the required power is Osaka University’s Institute for Laser Engineering and their Gekko XII laser. It’s a massive 12-beam, high-powered laser that can generate plasma stable enough for us to study,” explains Morita. “Studying astrophysical phenomena using high-energy lasers is called ‘laser astrophysics experiments,’ and it has been a developing methodology in recent years.”

In their experiments, reported in Physical Review E, the high-power lasers were used to generate two plasma fields with anti-parallel magnetic fields. The team then focused a low-energy laser into the center of the plasma where the magnetic fields would meet and where magnetic reconnection would theoretically occur.

“We are essentially recreating the dynamics and conditions of a solar flare. Nonetheless, by analyzing how the light from that low-energy laser scatters, we can measure all sorts of parameters from plasma temperature, velocity, ion valence, current, and plasma flow velocity,” continues Morita.

One of their key findings was recording the appearance and disappearance of electrical currents where the magnetic fields met, indicating magnetic reconnection. Additionally, they were able to collect data on the acceleration and heating of the plasma.

The team plans on continuing their analysis and hopes that these types of ‘laser astrophysics experiments’ will be more readily used as an alternative or complementary way to investigate astrophysical phenomena.

“This method can be used to study all sorts of things like astrophysical shockwaves, cosmic-ray acceleration, and magnetic turbulence. Many of these phenomena can damage and disrupt electrical devices and the human body,” concludes Morita. “So, if we ever want to be a spacefaring race, we must work to understand these common cosmic events.”

Reference: “Detection of current-sheet and bipolar ion flows in a self-generated antiparallel magnetic field of laser-produced plasmas for magnetic reconnection research” by T. Morita, T. Kojima, S. Matsuo, S. Matsukiyo, S. Isayama, R. Yamazaki, S. J. Tanaka, K. Aihara, Y. Sato, J. Shiota, Y. Pan, K. Tomita, T. Takezaki, Y. Kuramitsu, K. Sakai, S. Egashira, H. Ishihara, O. Kuramoto, Y. Matsumoto, K. Maeda and Y. Sakawa, 10 November 2022, Physical Review E.
DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevE.106.055207

The study was funded by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.

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