Abstract This review summarizes new trends in studies of magnetic reconnection in solar flares. It is shown that plasmoids play a very important role in this primary flare process. Using the results of magnetohydrodynamic and particle-in-cell simulations, we describe how the plasmoids are formed, how they move and interact, and how a flare current sheet is fragmented into a cascade of plasmoids. Furthermore, it is shown that during the interactions of these plasmoids electrons are not only very efficiently accelerated and heated, but electromagnetic (radio) emission is also produced. We also describe possible mechanisms for the triggering of magnetic reconnection. The relevant X-ray and radio signatures of these processes (such as radio drifting pulsation structures, narrowband dm-spikes, and the loop-top and above-the-loop-top X-ray sources) are then described. It is shown that plasmoids can also be formed in kinked magnetic ropes. A mapping of X-points of the magnetic reconnection on the chromosphere (as e.g. a splitting of flare ribbons) is mentioned. Supporting EUV and white-light observations of plasmoids are added. The significance of all these processes for the fast magnetic reconnection and electron acceleration is outlined. Their role in fusion experiments is briefly mentioned.
Keywords Sun: flares — Sun: radio radiation — Sun: X-rays
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