Articles | Volume 17, issue 3
07 May 2010
 | 07 May 2010

Lower-hybrid (LH) oscillitons evolved from ion-acoustic (IA)/ion-cyclotron (IC) solitary waves: effect of electron inertia

J. Z. G. Ma and A. Hirose

Abstract. Lower-hybrid (LH) oscillitons reveal one aspect of geocomplexities. They have been observed by rockets and satellites in various regions in geospace. They are extraordinary solitary waves the envelop of which has a relatively longer period, while the amplitude is modulated violently by embedded oscillations of much shorter periods. We employ a two-fluid (electron-ion) slab model in a Cartesian geometry to expose the excitation of LH oscillitons. Relying on a set of self-similar equations, we first produce, as a reference, the well-known three shapes (sinusoidal, sawtooth, and spiky or bipolar) of parallel-propagating ion-acoustic (IA) solitary structures in the absence of electron inertia, along with their Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) power spectra. The study is then expanded to illustrate distorted structures of the IA modes by taking into account all the three components of variables. In this case, the ion-cyclotron (IC) mode comes into play. Furthermore, the electron inertia is incorporated in the equations. It is found that the inertia modulates the coupled IA/IC envelops to produce LH oscillitons. The newly excited structures are characterized by a normal low-frequency IC solitary envelop embedded by high-frequency, small-amplitude LH oscillations which are superimposed upon by higher-frequency but smaller-amplitude IA ingredients. The oscillitons are shown to be sensitive to several input parameters (e.g., the Mach number, the electron-ion mass/temperature ratios, and the electron thermal speed). Interestingly, whenever a LH oscilliton is triggered, there occurs a density cavity the depth of which can reach up to 20% of the background density, along with density humps on both sides of the cavity. Unexpectedly, a mode at much lower frequencies is also found beyond the IC band. Future studies are finally highlighted. The appendices give a general dispersion relation and specific ones of linear modes relevant to all the nonlinear modes encountered in the text.