Ion Acceleration in Laboratory Plasmas

  1. Tom Chang,
  2. M. K. Hudson,
  3. J. R. Jasperse,
  4. R. G. Johnson,
  5. P. M. Kintner and
  6. M. Schulz
  1. Reiner L. Stenzel

Published Online: 21 MAR 2013

DOI: 10.1029/GM038p0211

Ion Acceleration in the Magnetosphere and Ionosphere

Ion Acceleration in the Magnetosphere and Ionosphere

How to Cite

Stenzel, R. L. (1986) Ion Acceleration in Laboratory Plasmas, in Ion Acceleration in the Magnetosphere and Ionosphere (eds T. Chang, M. K. Hudson, J. R. Jasperse, R. G. Johnson, P. M. Kintner and M. Schulz), American Geophysical Union, Washington, D. C.. doi: 10.1029/GM038p0211

Author Information

  1. Department of Physics, University of California, Los Angeles, California 90024

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 21 MAR 2013
  2. Published Print: 1 JAN 1986

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780875900636

Online ISBN: 9781118664216



  • Magnetosphere—Congresses;
  • Ionosphere—Congresses;
  • Ion flow dynamics—Congresses;
  • Space plasmas—Congresses


Acceleration and heating of ions observed in various laboratory experiments are reviewed and related to the interest in space plasma physics. Various cases of increasing complexities are studied. First, in dc electric fields such as occur in double layers and sheaths the ion acceleration is understood in terms of the electrostatic force on single particles, . Second, in time-varying electric fields the acceleration mechanism can be ion cyclotron resonance (ω = ωci), Landau resonance , or non-resonant processes such as impulsive (transit time) and stochastic (strong turbulence) heating. Observations for ac ion acceleration will include minority species ion cyclotron heating, scattering of test ions by ion acoustic turbulence, and ion acceleration by the ponderomotive force of intense localized high frequency fields. In time-varying magnetic fields such as occur during magnetic reconnection both inductive and electrostatic electric fields are present in plasmas and accelerate ions. Ion jetting from a neutral sheet is observed and interpreted in fluid terms to arise from the magnetic force or, in particle terms, to result from an electric field due to space charge separation between electrons and ions. During highly dynamic reconnection events (impulsive current disruptions) large inductive voltages (LdI/dt) are generated which are observed to form nonstationary double layers and to generate bursts of fast ions. The ejection of plasma from a disrupted current sheet steepens into a shock wave which produces anisotropic particle distributions. Space and time resolved three dimensional velocity distribution functions are measured and analyzed with the help of computers.