Geophysical Research Letters

Nonlinear interaction of outer zone electrons with VLF waves


  • J. M. Albert

    1. Institute for Scientific Research, Boston College, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
    2. Also at Air Force Research Laboratory, Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts, USA.
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[1] Analytical expressions have been obtained for three different types of cyclotron-resonant interaction of a test particle with a monochromatic electromagnetic wave: diffusion, phase bunching, and phase trapping. All three lead to changes in particle energy and pitch angle. They are evaluated for VLF waves and electrons at L = 5.5, to try to account for observed electron acceleration following magnetic storms. The results are that diffusion may be too slow, while phase bunching leads to deceleration. A maximal estimate of phase trapping, considered in isolation, leads to the acceleration of at least some 0.1 MeV electrons to ∼1 MeV in about 1 minute.