Non-adiabatic electron behaviour due to short-scale electric field structures at collisionless shock waves

V. See, R. F. Cameron, S. J. Schwartz
2013 Annales Geophysicae  
<p><strong>Abstract.</strong> Under sufficiently high electric field gradients, electron behaviour within exactly perpendicular shocks is unstable to the so-called trajectory instability. We extend previous work paying special attention to short-scale, high-amplitude structures as observed within the electric field profile. Via test particle simulations, we show that such structures can cause the electron distribution to heat in a manner that violates conservation of the first adiabatic
more » ... t adiabatic invariant. This is the case even if the overall shock width is larger than the upstream electron gyroradius. The spatial distance over which these structures occur therefore constitutes a new scale length relevant to the shock heating problem. Furthermore, we find that the spatial location of the short-scale structure is important in determining the total effect of non-adiabatic behaviour – a result that has not been previously noted.</p>
doi:10.5194/angeo-31-639-2013 fatcat:gglxktorrbdsrnihkhubtrqaly