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Creators/Authors contains: "Artemyev, Anton"

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  1. Abstract

    We present particle-in-cell simulations of a combined whistler heat flux and temperature anisotropy instability that is potentially operating in the solar wind. The simulations are performed in a uniform plasma and initialized with core and halo electron populations typical of the solar wind beyond about 0.3 au. We demonstrate that the instability produces whistler-mode waves propagating both along (anti-sunward) and opposite (sunward) to the electron heat flux. The saturated amplitudes of both sunward and anti-sunward whistler waves are strongly correlated with their initial linear growth rates,Bw/B0(γ/ωce)ν, where for typical electron betas we have 0.6 ≲ν≲ 0.9. We show that because of the relatively large spectral width of the whistler waves, the instability saturates through the formation of quasi-linear plateaus around the resonant velocities. The revealed correlations of whistler wave amplitudes and spectral widths with electron beta and temperature anisotropy are consistent with solar wind observations. We show that anti-sunward whistler waves result in an electron heat flux decrease, while sunward whistler waves actually lead to an electron heat flux increase. The net effect is the electron heat flux suppression, whose efficiency is larger for larger electron betas and temperature anisotropies. The electron heat flux suppression can be up to 10%–60% provided that the saturated whistler wave amplitudes exceed about 1% of the background magnetic field. The experimental applications of the presented results are discussed.

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  2. Abstract

    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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  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 28, 2024
  4. Accepted, not yet published 
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  5. Abstract

    Thermalization and heating of plasma flows at shocks result in unstable charged-particle distributions that generate a wide range of electromagnetic waves. These waves, in turn, can further accelerate and scatter energetic particles. Thus, the properties of the waves and their implication for wave−particle interactions are critically important for modeling energetic particle dynamics in shock environments. Whistler-mode waves, excited by the electron heat flux or a temperature anisotropy, arise naturally near shocks and foreshock transients. As a result, they can often interact with suprathermal electrons. The low background magnetic field typical at the core of such transients and the large wave amplitudes may cause such interactions to enter the nonlinear regime. In this study, we present a statistical characterization of whistler-mode waves at foreshock transients around Earth’s bow shock, as they are observed under a wide range of upstream conditions. We find that a significant portion of them are sufficiently intense and coherent (narrowband) to warrant nonlinear treatment. Copious observations of background magnetic field gradients and intense whistler wave amplitudes suggest that phase trapping, a very effective mechanism for electron acceleration in inhomogeneous plasmas, may be the cause. We discuss the implications of our findings for electron acceleration in planetary and astrophysical shock environments.

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  6. Abstract

    Resonant interactions between relativistic electrons and electromagnetic ion cyclotron (EMIC) waves provide an effective loss mechanism for this important electron population in the outer radiation belt. The diffusive regime of electron scattering and loss has been well incorporated into radiation belt models within the framework of the quasi‐linear diffusion theory, whereas the nonlinear regime has been mostly studied with test particle simulations. There is also a less investigated, nonresonant regime of electron scattering by EMIC waves. All three regimes should be present, depending on the EMIC waves and ambient plasma properties, but the occurrence rates of these regimes have not been previously quantified. This study provides a statistical investigation of the most important EMIC wave‐packet characteristics for the diffusive, nonlinear, and nonresonant regimes of electron scattering. We utilize 3 years of observations to derive distributions of wave amplitudes, wave‐packet sizes, and rates of frequency variations within individual wave‐packets. We demonstrate that EMIC waves typically propagate as wave‐packets with ∼10 wave periods each, and that ∼3–10% of such wave‐packets can reach the regime of nonlinear resonant interaction with 2–6 MeV electrons. We show that EMIC frequency variations within wave‐packets reach 50–100% of the center frequency, corresponding to a significant high‐frequency tail in their wave power spectrum. We explore the consequences of these wave‐packet characteristics for high and low energy electron precipitation by H‐band EMIC waves and for the relative importance of quasi‐linear and nonlinear regimes of wave‐particle interactions.

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  7. Abstract

    Energetic electron precipitation from the equatorial magnetosphere into the atmosphere plays an important role in magnetosphere‐ionosphere coupling: precipitating electrons alter ionospheric properties, whereas ionospheric outflows modify equatorial plasma conditions affecting electromagnetic wave generation and energetic electron scattering. However, ionospheric measurements cannot be directly related to wave and energetic electron properties measured by high‐altitude, near‐equatorial spacecraft, due to large mapping uncertainties. We aim to resolve this by projecting low‐altitude measurements of energetic electron precipitation by ELFIN CubeSats onto total electron content (TEC) maps serving as a proxy for ionospheric density structures. We examine three types of precipitation on the nightside: precipitation of <200 keV electrons in the plasma sheet, bursty precipitation of <500 keV electrons by whistler‐mode waves, and relativistic (>500 keV) electron precipitation by EMIC waves. All three types of precipitation show distinct features in TEC horizontal gradients, and we discuss possible implications of these features.

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