The electron energy distribution during HF pumping, a picture painted with all colors
Abstract. The shape of the electron energy distribution has long been a central question in the field of high-frequency radio-induced optical emission experiments. This report presents estimates of the electron energy distribution function, fe(E), from 0 to 60 eV, based on optical multi-wavelength (6300, 5577, 8446, 4278Å) data and 930-MHz incoherent scatter radar measurements of ion temperature, electron temperature and electron concentration. According to our estimate, the electron energy distribution has a depression at around 2 eV, probably caused by electron excitation of vibrational states in N2, and a high energy tail that is clearly supra-thermal. The temporal evolution of the emissions indicates that the electron temperature still plays an important role in providing electrons with energies close to 2 eV. At the higher energies the electron energy distribution has a non-thermal tail.
Keywords. Active experiments; Ionosphere atmosphere interaction; Ionospheric physics