The wave surveyor technique for fast plasma wave detection in multi-spacecraft data
Abstract. Multi-satellite missions like Cluster allow to study the full spatio-temporal variability of plasma processes in near-Earth space, and both the frequency and the wave vector dependence of dispersion relations can be reconstructed. Existing wave analysis methods include high-resolution beamformers like the wave telescope or k-filtering technique, and the phase differencing approach that combines the correlations measured at pairs of sensors of the spacecraft array. In this paper, we make use of the eigendecomposition of the cross spectral density matrix to construct a direct wave identification method that we choose to call the wave surveyor technique. The analysis scheme extracts only the dominant wave mode but is much faster to apply than existing techniques, hence it is expected to ease survey-type detection of waves in large data sets. The wave surveyor technique is demonstrated by means of synthetic data, and is also applied to Cluster magnetometer measurements.