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Shock front nonstationarity and ion acceleration in supercritical perpendicular shocks

Z.W. Yang 1 Q.M. Lu 1 Bertrand Lembège 2 S. Wang 1
LATMOS - Laboratoire Atmosphères, Milieux, Observations Spatiales
Abstract : Previous particle-in-cell simulations have evidenced that quasiperpendicular shocks are nonstationary and suffer a self-reformation on gyro scale of the incoming ions due to the accumulation of reflected ions. In this paper, by separating the incoming ions into reflected and directly transmitted parts, we investigate the detailed mechanisms of ion acceleration in a nonstationary perpendicular shock. Test particle simulations are performed where the shock profiles are issued from self-consistent one-dimensional full particle-in-cell simulations. Both shell and Maxwellian incoming ion distributions are used. In both cases, most energetic particles correspond to reflected ions, and the associated acceleration mechanisms include both shock drift acceleration (SDA) and shock surfing acceleration (SSA). Two types of results are obtained. First, if we fix the shock profiles at different times within a self-reformation cycle, the mechanisms of particle acceleration are different at different profiles. SDA process appears as the dominant acceleration mechanism when the width of the ramp is broad (and overshoot amplitude is low) whereas both SDA and SSA contribute as the width of the ramp is narrow (and overshoot amplitude is high). For the different shock profiles concerned herein, SDA process is more efficient (higher resulting ion energy gain) than the SSA process. Second, in order to investigate ion acceleration in self-reforming shocks, not only the ramp but also the variations of the whole shock front need to be included. In the continuously time-evolving shock, SDA remains a dominant acceleration mechanism whereas SSA mechanism becomes more and more important with the increase of the initial particle energy. The percentage of reflected ions cyclically varies in time with a period equal to the self reformation cycle, which is in agreement with previous full particle simulations. The reflected ions not only come from the distribution wings of the incoming ions but also from the core part, in contrast with previous results based on stationary shocks.
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Z.W. Yang, Q.M. Lu, Bertrand Lembège, S. Wang. Shock front nonstationarity and ion acceleration in supercritical perpendicular shocks. Journal of Geophysical Research Space Physics, American Geophysical Union/Wiley, 2009, 114 (A3), pp.A03111. ⟨10.1029/2008JA013785⟩. ⟨hal-00372232⟩



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