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  1. Abstract

    Very-Low-Frequency (VLF) transmitters operate worldwide mostly at frequencies of 10–30 kilohertz for submarine communications. While it has been of intense scientific interest and practical importance to understand whether VLF transmitters can affect the natural environment of charged energetic particles, for decades there remained little direct observational evidence that revealed the effects of these VLF transmitters in geospace. Here we report a radially bifurcated electron belt formation at energies of tens of kiloelectron volts (keV) at altitudes of ~0.8–1.5 Earth radii on timescales over 10 days. Using Fokker-Planck diffusion simulations, we provide quantitative evidence that VLF transmitter emissions that leak from the Earth-ionosphere waveguide are primarily responsible for bifurcating the energetic electron belt, which typically exhibits a single-peak radial structure in near-Earth space. Since energetic electrons pose a potential danger to satellite operations, our findings demonstrate the feasibility of mitigation of natural particle radiation environment.

  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 16, 2023
  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 16, 2023
  4. Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 1, 2023
  5. Radiation belt electrons are strongly affected by resonant interactions with cyclotron-resonant waves. In the case of a particle passing through resonance with a single, coherent wave, a Hamiltonian formulation is advantageous. With certain approximations, the Hamiltonian has the same form as that for a plane pendulum, leading to estimates of the change at resonance of the first adiabatic invariant I , energy, and pitch angle. In the case of large wave amplitude (relative to the spatial variation of the background magnetic field), the resonant change in I and its conjugate phase angle ξ are not diffusive but determined by nonlinear dynamics. A general analytical treatment of slow separatrix crossing has long been available and can be used to give the changes in I associated with “phase bunching,” including the detailed dependence on ξ , in the nonlinear regime. Here we review this treatment, evaluate it numerically, and relate it to previous analytical results for nonlinear wave-particle interactions. “Positive phase bunching” can occur for some particles even in the pendulum Hamiltonian approximation, though the fraction of such particles may be exponentially small.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 11, 2023
  6. Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 13, 2023
  7. This work compares several versions of the equations of motion for a test particle encountering cyclotron resonance with a single, field-aligned whistler mode wave. The gyro-averaged Lorentz equation produces both widespread phase trapping (PT) and “positive phase bunching” of low pitch angle electrons by large amplitude waves. Approximations allow a Hamiltonian description to be reduced to a single pair of conjugate variables, which can account for PT as well as phase bunching at moderate pitch angle, and has recently been used to investigate this unexpected bahavior at low pitch angle. Here, numerical simulations using the Lorentz equation and several versions of Hamiltonian-based equations of motion are compared. Similar behavior at low pitch angle is found in each case.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 16, 2023