Collisionless current sheet equilibria

Thomas Neukirch, Fiona Wilson, Oliver Douglas Allanson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Current sheets are important for the structure and dynamics of many plasma systems. In space and astrophysical plasmas they play a crucial role in activity processes, for example by facilitating the release of magnetic energy via processes such as magnetic reconnection. In this contribution we will focus on collisionless plasma systems. A sensible first step in any investigation of physical processes involving current sheets is to find appropriate equilibrium solutions. The theory of collisionless plasma equilibria is well established, but over the past few years there has been a renewed interest in finding equilibrium distribution functions for collisionless current sheets with particular properties, for example for cases where the current density is parallel to the magnetic field (force-free current sheets). This interest is due to a combination of scientific curiosity and potential applications to space and astrophysical plasmas. In this paper we will give an overview of some of the recent developments, discuss their potential applications and address a number of open questions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number014008
Number of pages9
JournalPlasma Physics and Controlled Fusion
Issue number1
Early online date17 Oct 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018


  • Collisionless plasmas
  • Current sheets
  • Plasma equilibrium
  • Force-free magnetic fields


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