Unraveling the Formation Mechanism for the Bursts of Electron Butterfly Distributions: Test Particle and Quasilinear Simulations
Energetic electron dynamics is highly affected by plasma waves through quasilinear and/or nonlinear interactions in the Earth s inner magnetosphere. In this letter, we provide physical explanations for a previously reported intriguing event from the Van Allen Probes observations, where bursts of electron butterfly distributions at tens of keV exhibit remarkable correlations with chorus waves. Both test particle and quasilinear simulations are used to reveal the formation mechanism for the bursts of electron butterfly distribution. The test particle simulation results indicate that nonlinear phase trapping due to chorus waves is the key process to accelerate electrons to form the electron butterfly distribution within ~30 s, and reproduces the observed features. Quasilinear simulation results show that although the diffusion process alone also contributes to form the electron butterfly distribution, the timescale is slower. Our study demonstrates the importance of nonlinear interaction in rapid electron acceleration at tens of keV by chorus waves.
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Geophysical Research Letters
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