Magnetic reconnection is a fundamental phenomenon in magnetic confinement fusion as well as in space plasmas. The fingerprint of reconnection is the formation of intense current sheets and the release and transport of energy on short time scales.
In the tokamak geometry of fusion devices like ITER, magnetic reconnection gives rise to the formation of magnetic islands which can develop at all scales (from a few millimetres to several tens of centimetres) with different consequences for confinement. Large centimetric islands can lead to the loss of confinement of plasma and cause the onset of major disruptions, leading to a degradation of the machine. Small millimetric islands can affect electron heat transport. At all scales, the presence of multiple islands leads to magnetic chaos which can modify the single-island scenario typically considered.
Analogously, in space plasmas, magnetic reconnection is recognized as an important process at different length scales ranging from the microscopic scale of plasma turbulence up to the global scales of planetary magnetospheres, solar and stellar flares, and accretion disks around black holes. In practice, magnetic reconnection allows the formation of solar flares and coronal mass ejections, which can propagate to Earth causing geometric storms, potentially disrupting satellite communications and electric grids.
The objective of this webinar is to bring together these two communities (fusion and space plasmas) working on magnetic reconnection and to highlight common issues that they both face.