Earth Planets Space, Vol. 53 (No. 6), pp. 439-445, 2001
Ritoku Horiuchi1,2, Wenbing Pei2, and Tetsuya Sato1,2
1National Institute for Fusion Science, Toki 509-5292, Japan
2The Graduate University for Advanced Studies, Toki 509-5292, Japan
(Received May 30, 2000; Revised January 29, 2001; Accepted March 5, 2001)
Abstract: Particle simulation studies of collisionless driven reconnection in an open system are presented. Collisionless reconnection evolves in two steps in accordance with the formation of two current layers, i.e., an ion current layer in the early ion phase and an electron current layer in the late electron phase. After the electron current layer is formed inside the ion current layer, the system relaxes gradually to a steady state when convergent plasma flow is driven by an external electric field with a narrow input window. On the other hand, when the convergent plasma flow is driven from the wide input window, magnetic reconnection takes place in an intermittent manner, due to the frequent formation of magnetic islands in the vicinity of neutral sheet.