Incidence angle dependence of Langmuir turbulence and artificial ionospheric layers driven by high-power HF-heating

B. Eliasson, G. Milikh, X. Shao, E. V. Mishin, K. Papadopoulos

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We have numerically investigated the development of strong Langmuir turbulence
(SLT) and associated electron acceleration at different angles of incidence of ordinary (O) mode pump waves. For angles of incidence within the Spitze cone, the turbulence initially develops within the first maximum of the Airy pattern near the plasma resonance altitude. After a few milliseconds, the turbulent layer shifts downwards by about 1 km. For injections outside the Spitze region, the turning point of the pump wave is at lower altitudes. Yet, an Airy-like pattern forms here, and the turbulence development is quite similar to that for injections within the Spitze. SLT leads to the acceleration of 10–20 eV electrons that ionize the neutral gas thereby creating artificial ionospheric layers. Our numerical modeling shows that most efficient electron acceleration and ionization occur at angles between the magnetic and geographic zenith, where SLT dominates over weak turbulence. Possible effects of the focusing of the electromagnetic beam on magnetic field-aligned density irregularities and the finite heating beam width at the magnetic zenith are also discussed. The results have relevance to ionospheric heating experiments using ground-based, high-power radio transmitters to heat the overhead plasma, where recent observations of artificial ionization layers have been made.
Original languageEnglish
Article number415810201
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Plasma Physics
Issue number02
Early online date6 Nov 2014
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015


  • ionospheric turbulence
  • strong Langmuir turbulence
  • electron acceleration


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