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Title: Theory of ion holes in space and astrophysical plasmas
ABSTRACT Coherent bipolar electric field structures, ubiquitously found in various space and astrophysical plasma environments, play an important role in plasma transport and particle acceleration. Most of the studies found in the literature about them pertain to bipolar structures with positive potentials interpreted in terms of electron holes. Magnetospheric Multiscale spacecraft have recently observed a series of coherent electric field structures with negative potential in the Earth’s bow shock region, which are interpreted as ion holes. The existing theoretical models of ion holes are inadequate because they entail stringent conditions on the ratio of ion to electron temperature. This letter presents a new theory that provides a satisfactory explanation to these observations. A salient point is that this letter incorporates the electron dynamics in the theoretical formalism, which removes ambiguities associated with existing theories, thus showing that the new theory for ion holes may be widely applicable for space and astrophysical plasmas.
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Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters
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L69 to L75
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National Science Foundation
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