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Annales Geophysicae An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 32, issue 6
Ann. Geophys., 32, 677–687, 2014
© Author(s) 2014. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Ann. Geophys., 32, 677–687, 2014
© Author(s) 2014. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Regular paper 25 Jun 2014

Regular paper | 25 Jun 2014

Radiation in the neighbourhood of a double layer

R. Pottelette1, M. Berthomier1, and J. Pickett2 R. Pottelette et al.
  • 1LPP-CNRS/INSU, 4 avenue de Neptune, 94107 Saint-Maur-des-Fossés, France
  • 2Department of Physics and Astronomy, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, USA

Abstract. In the auroral kilometric radiation (AKR) source region, acceleration layers narrow in altitude and associated with parallel field-aligned potential drops of several kV can be identified by using both particles and wave-field high time-resolution measurements from the Fast Auroral SnapshoT explorer spacecraft (FAST). These so-called double layers (DLs) are recorded around density enhancements in the auroral cavity, where the enhancement can be at the edge of the cavity or even within the cavity at a small scale. Once immersed in the plasma, DLs necessarily accelerate particles along the magnetic field lines, thereby generating locally strong turbulent processes leading to the formation of nonlinear phase space holes. The FAST data reveal the asymmetric character of the turbulence: the regions located on the high-potential side of the DLs are characterized by the presence of electron holes, while on the low-potential side, ion holes are recorded. The existence of these nonlinear phase space holes may affect the AKR radiation pattern in the neighbourhood of a DL where the electron distribution function is drastically different from a horseshoe shape. We present some observations which illustrate the systematic generation of elementary radiation events occurring significantly above the local electron gyrofrequency in the presence of electron holes. These fine-scale AKR radiators are associated with a local electron distribution which presents a pronounced beam-like shape.

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