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A deep insight into the ion foreshock with the help of test particle two-dimensional simulations

Philippe Savoini 1 Bertrand Lembège 2
2 HELIOS - LATMOS
LATMOS - Laboratoire Atmosphères, Milieux, Observations Spatiales
Abstract : Two-dimensional (2D) test particle simulations based on shock profiles issued from 2D full particle-in-cell (PIC) simulations are used in order to analyze the formation processes of ions back streaming within the upstream region after interacting with a quasi-perpendicular curved shock front. Two different types of simulations have been performed based on (i) a fully consistent expansion (FCE) model, which includes all self-consistent shock profiles at different times, and (ii) a homothetic expansion (HE) model in which shock profiles are fixed at certain times and artificially expanded in space. The comparison of both configurations allows one to analyze the impact of the front nonstationarity on the back-streaming population. Moreover, the role of the space charge electric field El is analyzed by either including or canceling the El component in the simulations. A detailed comparison of these last two different configurations allows one to show that this El component plays a key role in the ion reflection process within the whole quasi-perpendicular propagation range. Simulations provide evidence that the different field-aligned beam (FAB) and gyro-phase bunched (GPB) populations observed in situ are essentially formed by a Et×B drift in the velocity space involving the convective electric field Et. Simultaneously, the study emphasizes (i) the essential action of the magnetic field component on the GPB population (i.e., mirror reflection) and (ii) the leading role of the convective field Et in the FAB energy gain. In addition, the electrostatic field component El is essential for reflecting ions at high θBn angles and, in particular, at the edge of the ion foreshock around 70∘. Moreover, the HE model shows that the rate BI% of back-streaming ions is strongly dependent on the shock front profile, which varies because of the shock front nonstationarity. In particular, reflected ions appear to escape periodically from the shock front as bursts with an occurrence time period associated to the self-reformation of the shock front.
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Philippe Savoini, Bertrand Lembège. A deep insight into the ion foreshock with the help of test particle two-dimensional simulations. Annales Geophysicae, European Geosciences Union, 2020, 38 (6), pp.1217-1235. ⟨10.5194/angeo-38-1217-2020⟩. ⟨insu-02538095⟩

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