The physics of particle acceleration by collisionless shocks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Using analytic theory, test-particle simulations, and self-consistent hybrid simulations, we show that quasi-perpendicular shocks - those which propagate nearly perpendicular to the upstream magnetic field - accelerate particles directly out of the incident thermal population to energies much higher than the upstream ram energy of the plasma. It has already been established that quasi-parallel shocks - those which propagate nearly in the same direction as the upstream magnetic field - efficiently accelerate particles directly out of the incident thermal population; however, this has not yet been established for quasi-perpendicular shocks. Our results can be understood within the framework of the diffusive shock acceleration theory. We find that the accelerated-particle spectrum obtained from a more-general self-consistent hybrid plasma simulation are quantitatively consistent with a less-sophisticated test-particle simulation. The implications of this are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)659-664
Number of pages6
JournalPlanetary and Space Science
Volume51
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2003

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particle acceleration
physics
shock
upstream
simulation
magnetic field
plasma
ram
magnetic fields
energy
particle
test

Keywords

  • Collisionless shocks
  • Cosmic rays
  • Numerical simulation studies
  • Particle acceleration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics

Cite this

The physics of particle acceleration by collisionless shocks. / Giacalone, Joe.

In: Planetary and Space Science, Vol. 51, No. 11, 09.2003, p. 659-664.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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