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Electron Bulk Acceleration and Thermalization at Earth's Quasiperpendicular Bow Shock
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2018 (English)In: Physical Review Letters, ISSN 0031-9007, E-ISSN 1079-7114, Vol. 120, no 22, article id 225101Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Electron heating at Earth's quasiperpendicular bow shock has been surmised to be due to the combined effects of a quasistatic electric potential and scattering through wave-particle interaction. Here we report the observation of electron distribution functions indicating a new electron heating process occurring at the leading edge of the shock front. Incident solar wind electrons are accelerated parallel to the magnetic field toward downstream, reaching an electron-ion relative drift speed exceeding the electron thermal speed. The bulk acceleration is associated with an electric field pulse embedded in a whistler-mode wave. The high electron-ion relative drift is relaxed primarily through a nonlinear current-driven instability. The relaxed distributions contain a beam traveling toward the shock as a remnant of the accelerated electrons. Similar distribution functions prevail throughout the shock transition layer, suggesting that the observed acceleration and thermalization is essential to the cross-shock electron heating. © 2018 American Physical Society.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
American Physical Society , 2018. Vol. 120, no 22, article id 225101
Keywords [en]
Atmospherics, Distribution functions, Electric fields, Electric potential, Plasma heating, Plasma shock waves, Accelerated electrons, Bulk acceleration, Electric field pulse, Electron distribution function, Nonlinear current, Quasistatic electrics, Wave-particle interactions, Whistler-mode waves, Electrons
National Category
Fusion, Plasma and Space Physics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-231734DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.120.225101ISI: 000433915100013Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85048161737OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-231734DiVA, id: diva2:1230423
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QC 20180703

Available from: 2018-07-03 Created: 2018-07-03 Last updated: 2018-07-03Bibliographically approved

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Lindqvist, Per-Arne

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