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Title: Evidence of Electron Acceleration via Nonlinear Resonant Interactions with Whistler-mode Waves at Foreshock Transients

Shock waves are sites of intense plasma heating and charged particle acceleration. In collisionless solar wind plasmas, such acceleration is attributed to shock drift or Fermi acceleration but also to wave–particle resonant interactions. We examine the latter for the case of electrons interacting with one of the most commonly observed wave modes in shock environments, the whistler mode. Such waves are particularly intense in dynamic, localized regions upstream of shocks, arising from the kinetic interaction of the shock with solar wind discontinuities. These regions, known as foreshock transients, are also sites of significant electron acceleration by mechanisms not fully understood. Using in situ observations of such transients in the Earth’s foreshock, we demonstrate that intense whistler-mode waves can resonate nonlinearly with >25 eV solar wind electrons and accelerate them to ∼100–500 eV. This acceleration is mostly effective for the 50–250 eV energy range, where the accelerated electron population exhibits a characteristic butterfly pitch-angle distribution consistent with theoretical predictions. Such nonlinear resonant acceleration is very fast, implying that this mechanism may be important for injecting suprathermal electrons of solar wind origin into the shock region, where they can undergo further, efficient shock-drift acceleration to even higher energies.

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Award ID(s):
2210319 1941012
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ;
Publisher / Repository:
DOI PREFIX: 10.3847
Date Published:
Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal
Medium: X Size: Article No. 38
["Article No. 38"]
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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