Articles | Volume 25, issue 1
01 Feb 2007
 | 01 Feb 2007

Pickup protons at quasi-perpendicular shocks: full particle electrodynamic simulations

S. Matsukiyo, M. Scholer, and D. Burgess

Abstract. We have performed 3 one-dimensional full particle electromagnetic simulations of a quasi-perpendicular shock with the same Alfvén Mach number MA~5, shock normal-magnetic field angle ΘBn=87° and ion and electron beta (particle to magnetic field pressure) of 0.1. In the first run we used an ion to electron mass ratio close to the physical one (mi/me=1024). As expected from previous high mass ratio simulations the Modified Two-Stream instability develops in the foot of the shock, and the shock periodically reforms itself. We have then self-consistently included in the simulation 10% pickup protons distributed on a shell in velocity space as a third component. In a run with an unrealistically low mass ratios of 200 the shock still reforms itself; reformation is due to accumulation of specularly reflected particles at the upstream edge of the foot. In a third run including pickup protons we used a mass ratio of 1024. The shock reforms periodically as in the low mass ratio run with a somewhat smaller time constant. The specular reflection of pickup protons results in an increase of the shock potential some distance ahead of the shock foot and ramp. The minimum scale of the cross shock potential during reformation is about 7 electron inertial length λe. We do not find any pickup proton acceleration in the ramp or downstream of the shock beyond the energy which specularly reflected ions gain by the motional electric field of the solar wind during their upstream gyration.