Particle Simulation of the Interaction between Kinetic Alfvén Waves and Double Layers

  1. Gordon R. Wilson
  1. Niels F. Otani1,
  2. Perry C. Gray2 and
  3. Mary K. Hudson2

Published Online: 18 MAR 2013

DOI: 10.1029/GM062p0095

Modeling Magnetospheric Plasma Processes

Modeling Magnetospheric Plasma Processes

How to Cite

Otani, N. F., Gray, P. C. and Hudson, M. K. (1991) Particle Simulation of the Interaction between Kinetic Alfvén Waves and Double Layers, in Modeling Magnetospheric Plasma Processes (ed G. R. Wilson), American Geophysical Union, Washington, D. C.. doi: 10.1029/GM062p0095

Author Information

  1. 1

    School of Electrical Engineering, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853

  2. 2

    Wilder Physics Lab, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH 03755

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 18 MAR 2013
  2. Published Print: 1 JAN 1991

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780875900285

Online ISBN: 9781118663905



  • Space plasmas—Mathematical models—Congresses;
  • Magnetosphere—Mathematical models—Congresses


A new simulation method is used to study the interaction of kinetic Alfvén waves and double layers in the auroral acceleration region. The simulation model is designed to clarify the confusion over the source of free energy, which was effectively imposed by boundary conditions in previous double layer simulations. The validity and characteristics of the model are discussed. Early results from the simulation show the presence of “current-driven” double layers. When an infinitely wide current channel is modeled, a parallel electric field is found to be generated to maintain a constant current through the double layers. For a finite width channel, the parallel current is observed to decay away due to an effective resistance presented by the double layers via a magnetic diffusion effect. This effective resistance is apparently reduced in the finite width channel case, possibly due to a charge-neutralizing effect of the ion polarization drift.