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Collisionless dissipation in quasi-perpendicular shocks


  • D. W. Forslund,

  • K. B. Quest,

  • J. U. Brackbill,

  • K. Lee


Microscopic dissipation processes in quasi-perpendicular shocks are studied by two-dimensional plasma simulations in which electrons and ions are treated as particles moving in self-consistent electric and magnetic fields. Cross-field currents induce substantial turbulence at the shock front reducing the reflected ion fraction, increasing the bulk ion temperature behind the shock, doubling the average magnetic ramp thickness, and enhancing the upstream field aligned electron heat flow. The short scale length magnetic fluctuations observed in the bow shock are probably associated with this turbulence.

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