Does Magnetic Reconnection Change Topology?

Amir Jafari

arXiv:2408.13732v3 Announce Type: replace-cross

Abstract: We show that magnetic reconnection and topology-change can be understood, and distinguished, in terms of trajectories of Alfv’enic wave-packets ${bf x}(t)$ moving along the magnetic field ${bf B(x}, t)$ with Alfv’en velocity $dot{bf x}(t)={bf V}_A({bf x},t)$, i.e. adopting a Lagrangian formalism for virtual particles. A considerable simplification is attained, in fact, by directly employing elementary concepts from hydrodynamic turbulence without appealing to the fictitious and complicated notion of magnetic field lines moving through plasma. In incompressible flows, Alfv’enic trajectories correspond to the dynamical system $dot{bf x}(t)={bf B}$, where $bf B$ solves the induction equation, with phase space $(bf x,B)$. Metric topology of this phase space, at any time $t$, captures the intuitive notion that nearby wave-packets should remain nearby at a slightly different time $tpm delta t$, unless topology changes e.g., by dissipation. In fact, continuity conditions for magnetic field allow rapid but continuous divergence of these trajectories, i.e., reconnection, but not discontinuous divergence which would change magnetic topology. Thus topology can change only due to time-reversal symmetry breaking e.g., by dissipation or turbulence. In laminar and even chaotic flows, the separation of Alfv’enic trajectories at all times remains proportional to their initial separation, i.e., slow reconnection, and topology changes by dissipation with a rate proportional to resistivity. In turbulence, trajectories diverge super-linearly with time independent of their initial separation, i.e., fast reconnection, and magnetic topology changes by turbulent diffusion with a rate independent of small-scale plasma effects. Our results strongly support the Lazarian-Vishniac model of stochastic reconnection and its reformulation by Eyink in terms of stochastic flux-freezing.arXiv:2408.13732v3 Announce Type: replace-cross

Abstract: We show that magnetic reconnection and topology-change can be understood, and distinguished, in terms of trajectories of Alfv’enic wave-packets ${bf x}(t)$ moving along the magnetic field ${bf B(x}, t)$ with Alfv’en velocity $dot{bf x}(t)={bf V}_A({bf x},t)$, i.e. adopting a Lagrangian formalism for virtual particles. A considerable simplification is attained, in fact, by directly employing elementary concepts from hydrodynamic turbulence without appealing to the fictitious and complicated notion of magnetic field lines moving through plasma. In incompressible flows, Alfv’enic trajectories correspond to the dynamical system $dot{bf x}(t)={bf B}$, where $bf B$ solves the induction equation, with phase space $(bf x,B)$. Metric topology of this phase space, at any time $t$, captures the intuitive notion that nearby wave-packets should remain nearby at a slightly different time $tpm delta t$, unless topology changes e.g., by dissipation. In fact, continuity conditions for magnetic field allow rapid but continuous divergence of these trajectories, i.e., reconnection, but not discontinuous divergence which would change magnetic topology. Thus topology can change only due to time-reversal symmetry breaking e.g., by dissipation or turbulence. In laminar and even chaotic flows, the separation of Alfv’enic trajectories at all times remains proportional to their initial separation, i.e., slow reconnection, and topology changes by dissipation with a rate proportional to resistivity. In turbulence, trajectories diverge super-linearly with time independent of their initial separation, i.e., fast reconnection, and magnetic topology changes by turbulent diffusion with a rate independent of small-scale plasma effects. Our results strongly support the Lazarian-Vishniac model of stochastic reconnection and its reformulation by Eyink in terms of stochastic flux-freezing.

2024-09-27

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