Research output: Contribution to journal › Scientific review
The magnetic field in many astrophysical plasmas - such as the solar corona and Earth's magnetosphere - has been shown to have a highly complex, three-dimensional structure. Recent advances in theory and computational simulations have shown that reconnection in these fields also has a three-dimensional nature, in contrast to the widely used two-dimensional (or 2.5-dimensional) models. Here we discuss the underlying theory of three-dimensional magnetic reconnection. We also review a selection of new models that illustrate the current state of the art, as well as highlighting the complexity of energy release processes mediated by reconnection in complicated three-dimensional magnetic fields. (C) 2011 COSPAR. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.