Influence of suprathermal background electrons on strong auroral double layers: Laminar and turbulent regimes

Newman, D. L.; Andersson, L.; Goldman, M. V.; Ergun, R. E.; Sen, N.
July 2008
Physics of Plasmas;Jul2008, Vol. 15 Issue 7, p072903
Academic Journal
A series of one-dimensional Vlasov simulations [Newman et al., Phys. Plasmas 15, 072902 (2008), this issue] show that a sufficiently dense and hot suprathermal electron population can stabilize strong laminar double layers over long periods while regulating their strength and velocity. When suprathermals are less dense or absent, the double layers tend to be sporadic and turbulent. A detailed comparison of the laminar and turbulent regimes reveals that the disruption of the laminar state can be triggered by kinetically modified Buneman instabilities on the low-potential side of the double layer, and by density perturbations that develop into nonlinear coherent shocklike structures on the high-potential side. These findings suggest that the suprathermal electrons may be responsible for suppressing both of these routes to disruption of the laminar state.


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