3D PiC code simulations for a laboratory experimental investigation of Auroral Kilometric Radiation mechanisms

K.M. Gillespie, David Speirs, K. Ronald, S.L. McConville, A.D.R. Phelps, R. Bingham, A.W. Cross, C.W. Robertson, C.G. Whyte, W. He, I. Vorgul, R.A. Cairns, B.J. Kellett

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Auroral Kilometric Radiation (AKR), occurs naturally in the polar regions of the Earth's magnetosphere where electrons are accelerated by electric fields into the increasing planetary magnetic dipole. Here conservation of the magnetic moment converts axial to rotational momentum forming a horseshoe distribution in velocity phase space. This distribution is unstable to cyclotron emission with radiation emitted in the X-mode. In a scaled laboratory reproduction of this process, a 75-85 keV electron beam of 5-40 A was magnetically compressed by a system of solenoids and emissions were observed for cyclotron frequencies of 4.42 GHz and 11.7 GHz resonating with near cut-off TE0,1 and TE0,3 modes, respectively. Here we compare these measurements with numerical predictions from the 3D PiC code KARAT. The 3D simulations accurately predicted the radiation modes and frequencies produced by the experiment. The predicted conversion efficiency between electron kinetic and wave field energy of around 1% is close to the experimental measurements and broadly consistent with quasi-linear theoretical analysis and geophysical observations.
Original languageEnglish
Article number124038
Number of pages11
JournalPlasma Physics and Controlled Fusion
Issue number12
Early online date5 Nov 2008
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2008


  • auroral kilometric radiation mechanisms
  • 3D PiC code simulations


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