Backward wave cyclotron-maser emission in the auroral magnetosphere

D. C. Speirs, R. Bingham, R. A. Cairns, I. Vorgul, B. J. Kellett, A. D. R. Phelps, K. Ronald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Citations (Scopus)
50 Downloads (Pure)


In this Letter, we present theory and particle-in-cell simulations describing cyclotron radio emission from Earth's auroral region and similar phenomena in other astrophysical environments. In particular, we find that the radiation, generated by a down-going electron horseshoe distribution is due to a backward-wave cyclotron-maser emission process. The backward wave nature of the radiation contributes to upward refraction of the radiation that is also enhanced by a density inhomogeneity. We also show that the radiation is preferentially amplified along the auroral oval rather than transversely. The results are in agreement with recent Cluster observations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number155002
Number of pages5
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 7 Oct 2014


  • backward waves
  • auroral magnetosophere
  • cyclotron maser emission


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Research Output

  • 16 Citations
  • 1 Conference contribution book

Apparatus for investigating non-linear microwave interactions in magnetised plasma

Ronald, K., Phelps, A. D. R., Cairns, R. A., Bingham, R., Eliasson, B., Koepke, M. E., Cross, A. W., Speirs, D. C., Robertson, C. W. & Whyte, C. G., 31 Oct 2018, 45th EPS Conference on Plasma Physics (EPS 2018) . Coda, S., Lapenta, G., Michaut, C., Berndt, J., Mantsinen, M. & Weber, S. (eds.). p. 961-964 4 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution book

Open Access


IEEE Plasma Science and Applications (PSAC) Award 2017

Phelps, Alan (Recipient), 24 May 2017

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)


  • 1 Invited talk

Scaled numerical and experimental investigation of the mechanism for Auroral Kilometric Radiation

Kevin Ronald (Invited speaker)

16 Nov 2018

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk

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