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Phase speed of electrostatic waves: the critical parameter for efficient electron surfing acceleration
Ruhr-Universität Bochum.
Space and Astrophysics Group University of Warwick, UK.
Institute of Theoretical Physics IV Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany.
Institute of Theoretical Physics IV Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany.
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2006 (English)In: Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion, ISSN 0741-3335, E-ISSN 1361-6587, Vol. 48, no 4, 489-508 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Particle acceleration by means of nonlinear plasma wave interactions is of great topical interest. Accordingly, in this paper we focus on the electron surfing process. Self-consistent kinetic simulations, using both relativistic Vlasov and particle-in-cell (PIC) approaches, show here that electrons can be accelerated to highly relativistic energies (up to 100mec2) if the phase speed of the electrostatic wave is mildly relativistic (0.6c to 0.9c for the magnetic field strengths considered). The acceleration is strong because of relativistic stabilization of the nonlinearly saturated electrostatic wave, seen in both relativistic Vlasov and PIC simulations. An inverse power law momentum distribution can arise for the most strongly accelerated electrons. These results are of relevance to observed rapid changes in the radio synchrotron emission intensities from microquasars, gamma ray bursts and other astrophysical objects that require rapid acceleration mechanisms for electrons.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2006. Vol. 48, no 4, 489-508 p.
Keyword [en]
plasma physics
National Category
Engineering and Technology
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-35698DOI: 10.1088/0741-3335/48/4/002Local ID: 28190OAI: diva2:256546
Available from: 2009-10-10 Created: 2009-10-10 Last updated: 2010-06-14

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Dieckmann, Mark E
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