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Annales Geophysicae An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 30, issue 1
Ann. Geophys., 30, 81–95, 2012
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-30-81-2012
© Author(s) 2012. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Ann. Geophys., 30, 81–95, 2012
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-30-81-2012
© Author(s) 2012. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Regular paper 09 Jan 2012

Regular paper | 09 Jan 2012

Non-propagating electric and density structures formed through non-linear interaction of Alfvén waves

F. Mottez F. Mottez
  • Laboratoire Univers et Théories (LUTH), Observatoire de Paris; CNRS UMR8102, Université Paris Diderot, 5 Place Jules Janssen, 92190 Meudon, France

Abstract. In the auroral zone of the Earth, the electron acceleration by Alfvén waves is sometimes seen as a precursor of the non-propagating acceleration structures. In order to investigate how Alfvén waves could generate non-propagating electric fields, a series of simulations of counter-propagating waves in a homogeneous medium is presented. The waves propagate along the ambient magnetic field direction. It is shown that non-propagating electric fields are generated at the locus of the Alfvén waves crossing. These electric fields have a component orientated along the direction of the ambient magnetic field, and they generate a significant perturbation of the plasma density. The non-linear interaction of down and up-going Alfvén waves might be a cause of plasma density fluctuations (with gradients along the magnetic field) on a scale comparable to those of the Alfvén wavelengths. The present paper is mainly focused on the creation process of the non-propagating parallel electric field.

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