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Nonstationarity of a two-dimensional perpendicular shock: Competing mechanisms

Abstract : Two-dimensional particle-in-cell (PIC) simulations are used for analyzing in detail different nonstationary behaviors of a perpendicular supercritical shock. A recent study by Hellinger et al. (2007) has shown that the front of a supercritical shock can be dominated by the emission of large-amplitude whistler waves. These waves inhibit the self-reformation driven by the reflected ions; then, the shock front appears almost “quasi-stationary.” The present study stresses new complementary results. First, for a fixed βi value, the whistler waves emission (WWE) persists for high MA above a critical Mach number (i.e., MA ≥ MAWWE). The quasi-stationarity is only apparent and disappears when considering the full 3-D field profiles. Second, for lower MA, the self-reformation is retrieved and becomes dominant as the amplitude of the whistler waves becomes negligible. Third, there exists a transition regime in MA within which both processes compete each other. Fourth, these results are observed for a strictly perpendicular shock only as B0 is within the simulation plane. When B0 is out of the simulation plane, no whistler waves emission is evidenced and only self-reformation is recovered. Fifth, the occurrence and disappearance of the nonlinear whistler waves are well recovered in both 2-D PIC and 2-D hybrid simulations. The impacts on the results of the mass ratio (2-D PIC simulations), of the resistivity and spatial resolution (2-D hybrid simulations), and of the size of the simulation box along the shock front are analyzed in detail.
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Bertrand Lembège, Philippe Savoini, P. Hellinger, P. M. Trávnícek. Nonstationarity of a two-dimensional perpendicular shock: Competing mechanisms . Journal of Geophysical Research Space Physics, American Geophysical Union/Wiley, 2009, 114 (A3), pp.A03217. ⟨10.1029/2008JA013618⟩. ⟨hal-00371206⟩

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