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Non-propagating electric and density structures formed through non-linear interaction of Alfvén waves

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Author(s): F. Mottez

Journal: Annales Geophysicae
ISSN 0992-7689

Volume: 30;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 81;
Date: 2012;
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ABSTRACT
In the auroral zone of the Earth, the electron acceleration by Alfvén waves is sometimes seen as a precursor of the non-propagating acceleration structures. In order to investigate how Alfvén waves could generate non-propagating electric fields, a series of simulations of counter-propagating waves in a homogeneous medium is presented. The waves propagate along the ambient magnetic field direction. It is shown that non-propagating electric fields are generated at the locus of the Alfvén waves crossing. These electric fields have a component orientated along the direction of the ambient magnetic field, and they generate a significant perturbation of the plasma density. The non-linear interaction of down and up-going Alfvén waves might be a cause of plasma density fluctuations (with gradients along the magnetic field) on a scale comparable to those of the Alfvén wavelengths. The present paper is mainly focused on the creation process of the non-propagating parallel electric field.
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