Diffusive scattering of electrons by electron holes around injection fronts
Author  
Keywords  
Abstract 
Van Allen Probes have detected nonlinear electrostatic spikes around injection fronts in the outer radiation belt. These spikes include electron holes (EH), double layers, and more complicated solitary waves. We show that EHs can efficiently scatter electrons due to their substantial transverse electric fields. Although the electron scattering driven by EHs is diffusive, it cannot be evaluated via the standard quasilinear theory. We derive analytical formulas describing local electron scattering by a single EH and verify them via test particle simulations. We show that the most efficiently scattered are gyroresonant electrons (crossing EH on a time scale comparable to the local electron gyroperiod). We compute bounceaveraged diffusion coefficients and demonstrate their dependence on the EH spatial distribution (latitudinal extent and spatial filling factor) and individual EH parameters (amplitude of electrostatic potential, velocity, and spatial scales). We show that EHs can drive pitch angle scattering of math formula5 keV electrons at rates 102104 s1 and, hence, can contribute to electron losses and conjugated diffuse aurora brightenings. The momentum and pitch angle scattering rates can be comparable, so that EHs can also provide efficient electron heating. The scattering rates driven by EHs at L shells L \~ 5\textendash8 are comparable to those due to chorus waves and may exceed those due to electron cyclotron harmonics.

Year of Publication 
2017

Journal 
Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics

Volume 
119

Date Published 
03/2017

URL 
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2016JA023337/full

DOI 
10.1002/2016JA023337
