Acceleration and Transport in the Plasma Sheet Boundary Layer

  1. J. H. Waite Jr.,
  2. J. L. Burch and
  3. R. L. Moore
  1. Maha Ashour-Abdalla and
  2. David Schriver

Published Online: 18 MAR 2013

DOI: 10.1029/GM054p0305

Solar System Plasma Physics

Solar System Plasma Physics

How to Cite

Ashour-Abdalla, M. and Schriver, D. (1989) Acceleration and Transport in the Plasma Sheet Boundary Layer, in Solar System Plasma Physics (eds J. H. Waite, J. L. Burch and R. L. Moore), American Geophysical Union, Washington, D. C.. doi: 10.1029/GM054p0305

Author Information

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

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 18 MAR 2013
  2. Published Print: 1 JAN 1989

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780875900742

Online ISBN: 9781118664315



  • Space plasmas;
  • Sun;
  • Magnetosphere;
  • Astrophysics


Observations in the plasma sheet boundary layer have indicated the presence of field-aligned beams, ionospheric plasma and intense broadband electrostatic noise. In this paper we use analytic theory and numerical simulations to investigate the linear properties and nonlinear consequences of instabilities caused by two different free energy sources. The free energy sources considered are an ion beam and electron current. It is found that for the case of an ion beam free energy source, the presence of a cold electron background allows the electron acoustic instability to be excited. This instability rapidly heats the cold electrons. Once the cold electrons are heated, the interaction of the ion beams with the ionospheric ions permits the ion-ion mode to be unstable. The ion-ion instability saturates by heating the background ions and, to a lesser extent, the beam ions. The ion-ion instability is oblique when the ion drift speed is greater than the sound speed (U>Cs ) and occurs in the direction parallel to the ambient magnetic field for UCs . Considering the other free energy source, the electron current, the electron acoustic instability as well as a lower frequency electron-ion instability are excited. The high-frequency electron acoustic heats both the hot and cold electrons whereas the electron-ion instability heats the ions as well. This paper discusses the implications of these results for plasma transport and makes suggestions for additional experimental measurements that need to be made in the plasma sheet boundary layer.