Nonlinear radiation generation processes in the auroral acceleration region
- Laboratoire de Physique des Plasmas, UPMC, CNRS UMR 7648, 4 place Jussieu, 75252 Paris CEDEX 05, France
Abstract. It is known from laboratory plasma experiments that double layers (DLs) radiate in the electromagnetic spectrum; but this is only known qualitatively. In these experiments, it was shown that the electron beam created on the high-potential side of a DL generates nonlinear structures which couple to electromagnetic waves and act as a sender antenna. In the Earth auroral region, observations performed by auroral spacecraft have shown that DLs occur naturally in the source region of intense radio emissions called auroral kilometric radiation (AKR). Very high time-, spatial-, and temporal-resolution measurements are needed in order to characterize waves and particle distributions in the vicinity of DLs, which are moving transient structures. We report observations from the FAST satellite of a localized large-amplitude parallel electric field (∼ 300 mV m−1) recorded at the edges of the auroral density cavity. In agreement with laboratory experiments, on the high-potential side of the DL, elementary radiation events are detected. They occur substantially above the local electron gyrofrequency and are associated with the presence of electron holes. The velocity of these nonlinear structures can be derived from the measurement of the Doppler-shifted AKR frequency spectrum above the electron gyrofrequency. The generated electron holes appear as the nonlinear evolution of electrostatic waves generated by the electron–electron two-stream instability because they propagate at about half the beam velocity. It is pointed out that, in the vicinity of a DL, the shape of the electron distribution gives rise to a significant power recorded in the left-hand polarized ordinary (LO) mode.