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Surfatron and stochastic acceleration of electrons in astrophysical plasmas
UKAEA Culham Division Culham Science Centre.
UKAEA Culham Division Culham Science Centre.
Linköping University, Department of Science and Technology, Visual Information Technology and Applications (VITA). Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4055-0552
Linköping University, Department of Science and Technology, Visual Information Technology and Applications (VITA). Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9466-9826
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2005 (English)In: Journal of Plasma Physics, ISSN 0022-3778, E-ISSN 1469-7807, Vol. 71, no 2, 127-141 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Electron acceleration by large amplitude electrostatic waves in astro-physical plasmas is studied using particle-in-cell (PIC) simulations. The waves are excited initially at the electron plasma frequency ωpe by a Buneman instability driven by ion beams: the parameters of the ion beams are appropriate for high Mach number astrophysical shocks, such as those associated with supernova remnants (SNRs). If ωpe is much higher than the electron cyclotron frequency Ωe, the linear phase of the instability does not depend on the magnitude of the magnetic field. However, the subsequent time evolution of particles and waves depends on both ωpe/Ωeand the size of the simulation box L. If L is equal to one wavelength, λ0, of the Buneman-unstable mode, electrons trapped by the waves undergo acceleration via the surfatron mechanism across the wave front. This occurs most efficiently when ωpe/Ω ≃ 100: in this case electrons are accelerated to speeds of up c/2 where c is the speed of light. In a simulation with L = 4λ0 and ωpe/ Ωe = 100, it is found that sideband instabilities give rise to a broad spectrum of wavenumbers, with a power law tail. Some stochastic electron acceleration is observed in this case, but not the surfatron process. Direct integration of the electron equations of motion, using parameters approximating to those of the wave modes observed in the simulations, suggests that the surfatron is compatible with the presence of a broad wave spectrum if Ωpe/Ωe > 100. It is concluded that a combination of stochastic and surfatron acceleration could provide an efficient generator of mildly relativistic electrons at SNR shocks.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2005. Vol. 71, no 2, 127-141 p.
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Engineering and Technology
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URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-24509DOI: 10.1017/S0022377804003514Local ID: 6638OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-24509DiVA: diva2:244830
Available from: 2009-10-07 Created: 2009-10-07 Last updated: 2017-12-13

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Dieckmann, Mark EYnnerman, Anders

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