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Particle dynamics in a spatially varying electric field
KTH, Superseded Departments, Alfvén Laboratory. KTH, School of Electrical Engineering (EES), Space and Plasma Physics.
KTH, Superseded Departments, Alfvén Laboratory. KTH, School of Electrical Engineering (EES), Space and Plasma Physics.
1995 (English)In: Journal of Geophysical Research, ISSN 0148-0227, E-ISSN 2156-2202, Vol. 100, 14875-14885 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

For an MHD description of a plasma a distinct separation between the macroscopic and microscopic spatial and temporal scales is assumed. In this paper we solve the particle dynamics with finite first and second spatial derivatives in the electric field. We find that (1) MHD (ideal and nonideal) becomes invalid for a sufficiently strong constant electric field gradient perpendicular to the magnetic field; (2) a sufficiently large second derivative in the electric field can cause heavy ions to become chaotically untrapped; (3) for an electric field with a constant gradient the ion drift velocity is equal to (ExB)/\textbackslashB\textbackslash(2) as long as the orbit-averaged value off is used. There are no finite currents associated with the ion drift for such an electric field; (4) perturbation technique gives a poor approximation to the ion drift velocity even for values of the second derivative that may well occur in the magnetosphere. Results 1 and 2 provide necessary criteria for the applicability of magnetospheric MHD models of spatially varying electric fields. They also predict an asymmetry in the heavy ion fluxes, a feature that could be useful in inferring magnetospheric electric field structure. We illustrate these results by application to the Harang discontinuity. It is found that if the interplanetary magnetic field swings northward under substorm growth conditions the orbits of the equatorial O+ may dramatically change due to result 2. This effect may contribute to the substorm onset process.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
1995. Vol. 100, 14875-14885 p.
National Category
Fusion, Plasma and Space Physics
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-92874DOI: 10.1029/95JA00627OAI: diva2:514353
NR 20140805Available from: 2012-04-08 Created: 2012-04-07 Last updated: 2012-04-08Bibliographically approved

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Fälthammar, Carl-Gunne
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