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Nonstationarity of strong collisionless quasiperpendicular shocks: Theory and full particle numerical simulations

Nonstationarity of strong collisionless quasiperpendicular shocks: Theory and full particle numerical simulations

Publication date: 16 April 2002

Authors: Krasnoselskikh, V.V. et al.

Journal: Physics of Plasmas
Volume: 9
Issue: 4
Page: 1192-1209
Year: 2002

Copyright: American Institute of Physics

Whistler waves are an intrinsic feature of the oblique quasiperpendicular collisionless shock waves. For supercritical shock waves, the ramp region, where an abrupt increase of the magnetic field occurs, can be treated as a nonlinear whistler wave of large amplitude. In addition, oblique shock waves can possess a linear whistler precursor. There exist two critical Mach numbers related to the whistler components of the shock wave, the first is known as a whistler critical Mach number and the second can be referred to as a nonlinear whistler critical Mach number. When the whistler critical Much number is exceeded, a stationary linear wave train cannot stand ahead of the ramp. Above the nonlinear whistler critical Mach number, the stationary nonlinear wave train cannot exist anymore within the shock front. This happens when the nonlinear wave steepening cannot be balanced by the effects of the dispersion and dissipation. In this case nonlinear wave train becomes unstable with respect to overturning. In the present paper it is shown that the nonlinear whistler critical Mach number corresponds to the transition between stationary and nonstationary dynamical behavior of the shock wave. The results of the computer simulations making use of the 1D full particle electromagnetic code demonstrate that the transition to the nonstationarity of the shock front structure is always accompanied by the disappearance of the whistler wave train within the shock front. Using the two-fluid MHD equations, the structure of nonlinear whistler waves in plasmas with finite beta is investigated and the nonlinear whistler critical Mach number is determined. It is suggested a new more general proof of the criteria for small amplitude linear precursor or wake wave trains to exist.

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