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Cyclotron maser emission : stars, planets, and laboratory

Vorgul, I. and Kellett, B. J. and Cairns, R. A. and Bingham, R. and Ronald, K. and Speirs, D. C. and McConville, S. L. and Gillespie, K. M. and Phelps, A. D. R. (2011) Cyclotron maser emission : stars, planets, and laboratory. Physics of Plasmas, 18 (5). -. ISSN 1070-664X

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This paper is a review of results by the group over the past decade on auroral kilometric radiation and similar cyclotron emissions from stars and planets. These emissions are often attributed to a horseshoe or crescent shaped momentum distribution of energetic electrons moving into the convergent magnetic field which exists around polar regions of dipole-type stars and planets. We have established a laboratory-based facility that has verified many of the details of our original theoretical description and agrees well with numerical simulations. The experiment has demonstrated that the horseshoe distribution does indeed produce cyclotron emission at a frequency just below the local cyclotron frequency, with polarization close to X-mode and propagating nearly perpendicularly to the beam motion. We discuss recent developments in the theory and simulation of the instability including addressing a radiation escape problem and the effect of competing instabilities, relating these to the laboratory, space, and astrophysical observations.