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Nonlinear Processes in Geophysics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 6, issue 3/4
Nonlin. Processes Geophys., 6, 221-228, 1999
https://doi.org/10.5194/npg-6-221-1999
© Author(s) 1999. This work is licensed under
the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.

Special issue: Nonlinear Waves and Chaos

Nonlin. Processes Geophys., 6, 221-228, 1999
https://doi.org/10.5194/npg-6-221-1999
© Author(s) 1999. This work is licensed under
the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.

  31 Dec 1999

31 Dec 1999

Theory of localized bipolar wave-structures and nonthermal particle distributions in the auroral ionosphere

M. V. Goldman1, M. M. Oppenheim2, and D. L. Newman1 M. V. Goldman et al.
  • 1Center for Integrated Plasma Studies, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309-0390, USA
  • 2Astronomy Department, Boston Universitiy, Boston, MA 02215, USA

Abstract. Bipolar wave structures and nonthermal particle distributions measured by the FAST satellite in regions of downward current are interpreted in terms of the nonlinear evolution of a two-stream instability. The instability results in holes, both in the electron distribution in phase space and in the electron density in real space. The wave potential energy, which traps the electrons, has a single minimum, and the associated electric field is bipolar. The early bipolar structures are coherent over hundreds of Debye lengths in the direction perpendicular to the magnetic field. After thousands of plasma periods the perpendicular coherence is lost, the structures break up, and electrostatic whistlers begin to dominate. Simulations and preliminary analysis of this breakup and emission process are presented.

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