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

Gillespie, K.M. and Speirs, David and Ronald, K. and McConville, S.L. and Phelps, A.D.R. and Bingham, R. and Cross, A.W. and Robertson, C.W. and Whyte, C.G. and He, W. and Vorgul, I. and Cairns, R.A. and Kellett, B.J. (2008) 3D PiC code simulations for a laboratory experimental investigation of Auroral Kilometric Radiation mechanisms. Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion, 50 (12). ISSN 0741-3335

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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.