Laboratory simulation at microwave frequencies of auroral kilometric radiation emission mechanisms

David Speirs, K. Ronald, A.D.R. Phelps, A.W. Cross, R. Bingham, I. Vorgul, R.A. Cairns, C.G. Whyte, C.W. Robertson, IEEE

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


When a beam of electrons encounters an increasing magnetic field along its vector of motion, conservation of the magnetic moment results in the formation of a crescent or horseshoe shaped velocity distribution. A scenario analogous to this occurs in the terrestrial auroral zone where particles are accelerated into the polar regions of the Earth's magnetic dipole and expand adiabatically in velocity space. The resultant horseshoe shaped velocity distribution has been shown to be unstable with respect to a cyclotron-maser type instability (Bingham and Cairns, 2000, Vorgul et al., 2004 and Speirs et al., 2004). This instability has been postulated as the mechanism responsible for auroral kilometric radiation and also non-thermal radiation from other astrophysical bodies (Bingham et al., 2001). In this paper we describe a laboratory experiment to investigate the propagation of an electron beam subject to a magnetic compression of up to a factor of 35.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Joint 30th International Conference on Infrared and Millimeter Waves and 13th International Conference on Terahertz Electronics
Place of PublicationNew Jersey, USA
Number of pages1
ISBN (Print)0780393481
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • electron beams
  • magnetic fields
  • particle accelerators
  • particle beam dynamics


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