Electrostatic solitary structures in nonthermal plasmas

R. A. Cairns, A. A. Mamum, R. Bingham, R. Bostrom, R. O. Dendy, C. M. C. Nairn, P. K. Shukla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

655 Citations (Scopus)


Solitary electrostatic structures involving density depletions have been observed in the upper ionosphere by the Freja satellite [Dovner et al., 1994]. If these are interpreted as ion sound solitons, the difficulty arises that the standard Korteweg-de Vries description predicts structures with enhanced rather than depleted density. Here we show that the presence of non-thermal electrons may change the nature of ion sound solitary structures and allow the existence of structures very like those observed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2709-2712
Number of pages4
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 1995


  • auroral field lines
  • density
  • electron
  • electrons
  • ion
  • ion acceleration
  • lower hybrid waves
  • plasma
  • satellite
  • space
  • weak double layers
  • ionosphere
  • plasmas
  • structure


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