Particle beams in space


  • H. R. Anderson


The interaction between beams of charged particles and space plasmas is under active investigation by a number of research groups around the world. In addition to the numerous programs that investigate naturally occurring beams, such as auroral streams and solar flare particles, experiments are also being conducted using beams ejected from accelerators on sounding rockets, satellites, and the space shuttle. Both electron and ion beams are used in these accelerator experiments; electrons at 1–10 keV energy and up to 1 A beam current are most common. Laboratory plasma experiments and numerical simulations are employed as well.