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The particle carriers of field-aligned currents in the Earth's magnetotail during a substorm

Abstract : Although the particle carriers of field-aligned currents (FACs) in the Earth's magnetotail play an important role in the transfer of momentum and energy between the solar wind, magnetosphere, and ionosphere, the characteristics of the FAC carriers have been poorly understood. Taking advantage of multiinstrument magnetic field and plasma data collected by the four spacecraft of the Cluster constellation as they traversed the northern plasma sheet boundary layer in the magnetotail on 14 September 2004, we identified the species type and energy range of the FAC carriers for the first time. The results indicate that part of tailward FACs is carried by energetic keV ions, which are probably originated from the ionosphere through outflow, and they are not too small (~2 nA/m2) to be ignored. The earthward (tailward) FACs are mainly carried by the dominant tailward (earthward) motion of electrons, and higher-energy electrons (from ~0.5 to 26 keV) are the main carriers.
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Submitted on : Monday, May 23, 2022 - 11:39:46 AM
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Z. W. Cheng, J. C. Zhang, J. K. Shi, L. M. Kistler, M. Dunlop, et al.. The particle carriers of field-aligned currents in the Earth's magnetotail during a substorm. Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 2016, 121, pp.3058-3068. ⟨10.1002/2015JA022071⟩. ⟨insu-03675418⟩

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