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Electron acceleration in shocks

The goal of the project is to improve our understanding of electron heating and energetic electron generation mechanisms in collisionless shocks that are common in solar system but also other remote astrophysical plasmas.

Shocks forming at the interfaces of fast moving plasmas in Universe are among the most efficient plasma heating and energetic particle generation sites. Examples are shocks in front of planetary magnetospheres, termination shocks of stellar winds, supernovae shocks and others. Energetic electrons generated by shocks can generate radio waves, X-rays that allow to observe shocks remotely. The focus of the project is on observations at the Earth bow shock which has been experimentally sampled in details during the past years by multi-spacecraft NASA mission Magnetospheric MultiScale (MMS). With the launch of MMS spacecraft in 2015 we finally have sufficient quality electron distribution function and electric/magnetic field measurements at scales where electron heating and energetic electron generation is occuring. Of particulay importance are understanding non-adiabatic heating processes and trying to distinguish relative contribution of shock drift/surfing and drift shock acceleration mechanisms in energetic electron generation. The results of project are of high importance not only for the space physics but also for solar, astrophysical and laboratory plasma communities.

Funding agency: VR 2018-05514  


Lindberg, M.; Vaivads, A.; Raptis, S.; Lindqvist, P.-A.; Giles, B.L.; Gershman, D.J. Electron Kinetic Entropy across Quasi-Perpendicular Shocks. Entropy 2022, 24, 745.