Magnetic reconnection in space plasma turbulence


The purpose of my research is to understand the link between turbulence and magnetic reconnection. Turbulence is as ubiquitous in nature as the use of this word in the publications about it. It transports energy across spatial scales. Magnetic reconnection is an intricate way of energy conversion and magnetic field topology reconfiguration that occurs in every sort of plasma. Both processes are extremely challenging to understand due to the broad range of scales at which they take place.

Research interests

Plasma Physics, Magnetic Reconnection, Space Plasma Turbulence, Particle-in-cell Simulations.

Research projects

From Turbulence to Reconnection

"The melody of chaconne is just like the turbulence of life, from the first cry to the endless ups and downs." Lucia Fox

Around the 90% of the visible matter in the universe is in state of plasma. Unlike neutral fluid turbulence, plasma turbulence is anisotropic. Using 3D Particle-In-Cell simulations of anisotropic turbulence, I study the links between turbulence and reconnection at sub-proton scales by looking at the occurrence of reconnection from a turbulence cascade. I study the properties of the plasma quantities associated with small-scale 3D reconnection. The results of this project are available in Three-dimensional magnetic reconnection in particle-in-cell simulations of anisotropic plasma turbulence.

Results from the simulation: Volume rendering of the current density in the simulation domain. Magnetic field lines of the reconnecting flux-ropes. Artificial spacecraft data through the reconnection event.

Energy transport and transfer at kinetic scales

"Available energy is the main object at stake in the struggle for existence and the evolution of the world." Ludwig Boltzmann

Collisionless energy dissipation is a longstanding problem. In order to solve this problem, it is necessary to understand the different channels of energy transport at kinetic scales. Magnetic reconnection transport between fields and particles. In 3D systems at kinetic scales, the complex magnetic field topology and the density fluctuations make the energy transport an intricate problem to address. Using 3D PIC simulations, I am currently studying the energy transport associated with 3D small-scale reconnection. The results of this project are available in Energy Transport during 3D Small-scale Reconnection Driven by Anisotropic Plasma Turbulence

Energy kinetic and thermal energy transport during reconnection events.

Magnetic field topology exploration

"Therefore, either the reality on which our space is based must form a discrete manifold or else the reason for the metric relationships must be sought for, externally, in the binding forces acting on it." Bernhard Riemann

The nitty gritty details of the interplanetary magnetic field topology remain poorly understood. Although it is well known that plasma turbulence is anisotropic, there is still no consensus about the correct theory that describe the solar wind turbulence evolution. Multi-spacecraft missions that can resolve the magnetic topology are urgently needed. Using PIC simulations of plasma conditions similar to the solar wind, I have explored magnetic field reconstruction methods that are useful to propose a new mission concept MagneToRE.

Multi-spacecraft configuration for magnetic field sampling.
Magnetic field reconstruction method based on gaussian processes.