Wave-particle energy exchange directly observed in a kinetic Alfven-branch wave

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Title: Wave-particle energy exchange directly observed in a kinetic Alfven-branch wave
Authors: Gershman, DJ
F-Vinas, A
Dorelli, JC
Boardsen, SA
Avanov, LA
Bellan, PM
Schwartz, SJ
Lavraud, B
Coffey, VN
Chandler, MO
Saito, Y
Paterson, WR
Fuselier, SA
Ergun, RE
Strangeway, RJ
Russell, CT
Giles, BL
Pollock, CJ
Torbert, RB
Burch, JL
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: Alfvén waves are fundamental plasma wave modes that permeate the universe. At small kinetic scales, they provide a critical mechanism for the transfer of energy between electromagnetic fields and charged particles. These waves are important not only in planetary magnetospheres, heliospheres and astrophysical systems but also in laboratory plasma experiments and fusion reactors. Through measurement of charged particles and electromagnetic fields with NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission, we utilize Earth’s magnetosphere as a plasma physics laboratory. Here we confirm the conservative energy exchange between the electromagnetic field fluctuations and the charged particles that comprise an undamped kinetic Alfvén wave. Electrons confined between adjacent wave peaks may have contributed to saturation of damping effects via nonlinear particle trapping. The investigation of these detailed wave dynamics has been unexplored territory in experimental plasma physics and is only recently enabled by high-resolution MMS observations.
Issue Date: 31-Mar-2017
Date of Acceptance: 20-Jan-2017
ISSN: 2041-1723
Volume: 8
Copyright Statement: © 2017 The Author(s). This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit
Sponsor/Funder: The Leverhulme Trust
Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)
Funder's Grant Number: RF-2015-188
Keywords: Science & Technology
Multidisciplinary Sciences
Science & Technology - Other Topics
MD Multidisciplinary
Publication Status: Published
Open Access location:
Article Number: ARTN 14719
Appears in Collections:Space and Atmospheric Physics

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