Particle-in-cell simulations of collisionless magnetic reconnection with a non-uniform guide field

Fiona Wilson, Thomas Neukirch, Michael Hesse, Michael G. Harrison, Craig R. Stark

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Results are presented of a first study of collisionless magnetic reconnection starting from a recently found exact nonlinear force-free Vlasov-Maxwell equilibrium. The initial state has a Harris sheet magnetic field profile in one direction and a non-uniform guide field in a second direction, resulting in a spatially constant magnetic field strength as well as a constant initial plasma density and plasma pressure. It is found that the reconnection process initially resembles guide field reconnection, but that a gradual transition to anti-parallel reconnection happens as the system evolves. The time evolution of a number of plasma parameters is investigated, and the results are compared with simulations starting from a Harris sheet equilibrium and a Harris sheet plus constant guide field equilibrium.
Original languageEnglish
Article number032302
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalPhysics of Plasmas
Early online date2 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016


  • Astrophysics - solar and stellar astrophysics
  • Physics - plasma physics


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