Geophysical Research Letters

Electrostatic solitary waves (ESW) in the magnetotail: BEN wave forms observed by GEOTAIL



Wave forms of BEN (Broadband Electrostatic Noise) in the geomagnetic tail were first detected by the Wave Form Capture receiver on the GEOTAIL spacecraft. The results show that most of the BEN in the plasma sheet boundary layer (PSBL) are not continuous broadband noise but are composed of a series of solitary pulses having a special form which we term “Electrostatic Solitary Waves (ESW)”. A nonlinear BGK potential model is proposed as the generation mechanism for the ESW based upon a simple particle simulation which considers the highly nonlinear evolution of the electron beam instability. The wave forms produced by this simulation are very similar to those observed by GEOTAIL and suggest that the nonlinear dynamics of the electron beam play an essential role in the generation of ESW.