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Electrostatic drift instability in a magnetotail configuration: The role of bouncing electrons

Abstract : To understand the possible destabilization of two-dimensional current sheets, a kinetic model is proposed to describe the resonant interaction between electrostatic modes and trapped electrons that bounce within the sheet. This work follows the initial investigation by Tur, Louarn, and Yanovsky [Phys. Plasmas 17, 102905 (2010)] and Fruit, Louarn, and Tur [Phys. Plasmas 20, 022113 (2013)] that is revised and extended. Using a quasi-dipolar equilibrium state, the linearized gyro-kinetic Vlasov equation is solved for electrostatic fluctuations with a period of the order of the electron bounce period. Using an appropriated Fourier expansion of the particle motion along the magnetic field, the complete time integration of the non-local perturbed distribution functions is performed. The dispersion relation for electrostatic modes is then obtained through the quasineutrality condition. It is found that for a mildly stretched configuration ( L ∼8 ), strongly unstable electrostatic modes may develop in the current sheet with the growth rate of the order of a few seconds provided that the background density gradient responsible for the diamagnetic drift effects is sharp enough: typical length scale over one Earth radius or less. However, when this condition in the density gradient is not met, these electrostatic modes grow too slowly to be accountable for a rapid destabilization of the magnetic structure. This strong but finely tuned instability may offer opportunities to explain features in magnetospheric substorms.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, May 24, 2022 - 2:31:47 PM
Last modification on : Monday, July 4, 2022 - 8:53:44 AM

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G. Fruit, P. Louarn, A. Tur. Electrostatic drift instability in a magnetotail configuration: The role of bouncing electrons. Physics of Plasmas, 2017, 24, ⟨10.1063/1.4978566⟩. ⟨insu-03677062⟩

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