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Plasma jet braking: Energy dissipation and nonadiabatic electrons

Plasma jet braking: Energy dissipation and nonadiabatic electrons

Publication date: 19 April 2011

Authors: Khotyaintsev, Yu. et al.

Journal: Physics Review Letters
Volume: 106
Issue: 16
Page: 165001
Year: 2011

Copyright: American Physical Society

We report in situ observations by the Cluster spacecraft of wave-particle interactions in a magnetic flux pileup region created by a magnetic reconnection outflow jet in Earth's magnetotail. Two distinct regions of wave activity are identified: lower-hybrid drift waves at the front edge and whistler-mode waves inside the pileup region. The whistler-mode waves are locally generated by the electron temperature anisotropy, and provide evidence for ongoing betatron energization caused by magnetic flux pileup. The whistler-mode waves cause fast pitch-angle scattering of electrons and isotropization of the electron distribution, thus making the flow braking process nonadiabatic. The waves strongly affect the electron dynamics and thus play an important role in the energy conversion chain during plasma jet braking.

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