Stability of relativistic electron trapping by strong whistler or electromagnetic ion cyclotron waves
In the present paper, we investigate the trapping of relativistic electrons by intense whistler-mode waves or electromagnetic ion cyclotron waves in the Earth\textquoterights radiation belts. We consider the non-resonant impact of additional, lower amplitude magnetic field fluctuations on the stability of electron trapping. We show that such additional non-resonant fluctuations can break the adiabatic invariant corresponding to trapped electron oscillations in the effective wave potential. This destruction results in a diffusive escape of electrons from the trapped regime of motion and thus can lead to a significant reduction of the efficiency of electron acceleration. We demonstrate that when energetic electrons are trapped by intense parallel or very oblique whistler-mode waves, non-resonant magnetic field fluctuations in the whistler-mode frequency range with moderate amplitudes around 3-15 pT (much less intense than the primary waves) can totally disrupt the trapped motion. However, the trapping of relativistic electrons by electromagnetic ion cyclotron waves is noticeably more stable. We also discuss how the proposed approach can be used to estimate the effects of wave amplitude modulations on the motion of trapped particles.
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Physics of Plasmas
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