Spectral properties of electrostatic drift wave turbulence in the laboratory and the ionosphere
Abstract. Low-frequency electrostatic drift wave turbulence has been studied in both laboratory plasmas and in space. The present review describes a number of such laboratory experiments together with results obtained by instrumented spacecraft in the Earth's near and distant ionospheres. The summary emphasizes readily measurable quantities, such as the turbulent power spectra for the fluctuations in plasma density, potential and electric fields. The agreement between power spectra measured in the laboratory and in space seems to be acceptable, but there are sufficiently frequent counterexamples to justify a future dedicated analysis, for instance by numerical tools, to explain deviations. When interpreting spectra at low ionospheric altitudes, it is necessary to give attention to the DC ionospheric electric fields and the differences in the physics of electron–ion collisions and collisions of charged particles with neutrals for cases with significant Hall drifts. These effects modify the drift wave spectra. A dedicated laboratory experiment accounted for some of these differences.