FLARE (Facility for Laboratory Reconnection Experiments): A Major Next-Step for Laboratory Studies of Magnetic Reconnection

Monday, 15 December 2014
Hantao Ji1, Amitava Bhattacharjee1, Stewart Prager1, William S Daughton2, Stuart D Bale3, Troy A Carter4, Neal Crocker4, James Frederick Drake5, Jan Egedal6, John Sarff6, John Wallace6, Elena Belova7, Robert Ellis7, William R Fox II7, Phil Heitzenroeder7, Mike Kalish7, Jonathan Jara-Almonte7, Clayton Edward Myers7, Weiguo Que7, Yang Ren7, Peter Titus7, Masaaki Yamada7 and Jongsoo Yoo7, (1)Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, United States, (2)Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM, United States, (3)University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, United States, (4)University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, United States, (5)University of Maryland, College Park, MD, United States, (6)University of Wisconsin Madison, Madison, WI, United States, (7)Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, Princeton, NJ, United States
A new intermediate-scale plasma experiment, called the Facility for Laboratory Reconnection Experiments or FLARE, is under construction at Princeton as a joint project by five universities and two national labs to study magnetic reconnection in regimes directly relevant to space, solar and astrophysical plasmas. The currently existing small-scale experiments have been focusing on the single X-line reconnection process in plasmas either with small effective sizes or at low Lundquist numbers, both of which are typically very large in natural plasmas. These new regimes involve multiple X-lines as guided by a reconnection \lq\lq phase diagram", in which different coupling mechanisms from the global system scale to the local dissipation scale are classified into different reconnection phases [H. Ji \& W. Daughton, Phys. Plasmas {\bf 18}, 111207 (2011)]. The design of the FLARE device is based on the existing Magnetic Reconnection Experiment (MRX) at Princeton ( and is to provide experimental access to the new phases involving multiple X-lines at large effective sizes and high Lundquist numbers, directly relevant to space and solar plasmas. The motivating major physics questions, the construction status, and the planned collaborative research especially with space and solar research communities will be discussed.