Theory of localized bipolar wave-structures and nonthermal particle distributions in the auroral ionosphere
- 1Center for Integrated Plasma Studies, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309-0390, USA
- 2Astronomy Department, Boston Universitiy, Boston, MA 02215, USA
Abstract. Bipolar wave structures and nonthermal particle distributions measured by the FAST satellite in regions of downward current are interpreted in terms of the nonlinear evolution of a two-stream instability. The instability results in holes, both in the electron distribution in phase space and in the electron density in real space. The wave potential energy, which traps the electrons, has a single minimum, and the associated electric field is bipolar. The early bipolar structures are coherent over hundreds of Debye lengths in the direction perpendicular to the magnetic field. After thousands of plasma periods the perpendicular coherence is lost, the structures break up, and electrostatic whistlers begin to dominate. Simulations and preliminary analysis of this breakup and emission process are presented.