University of Maryland
On the Physics of Upper Hybrid Turbulence
One of the most fascinating and scientifically interesting phenomena of active space experiments is the discovery of artificial ionization by Todd Pedersen when the HAARP ERP reached the GW level. The phenomenon has been well documented experimentally. A theoretical model based on ionization by energetic electrons accelerated by 50-100 V/m localized electric fields due to Strong Langmuir Turbulence (SLT) near the reflection surface of the HF pump wave, reproduced the observed dynamics of the descending plasma layer quite accurately. A major defect of the model was that the electron temperature in the SLT region was a free parameter. When taken as the 2000 K representing the ambient electron temperature the SLT driven electron flux was insufficient to produce ionization. An equivalent electron temperature of 5000 K or higher was necessary to reproduce the observations. The needed electron heating was attributed to the interaction of the HF at the Upper Hybrid (UH) resonant layer, approximately 5 Km below the reflection region where the HF electric field is perpendicular to the ambient magnetic field. The heated electrons expanded upwards along the magnetic field line and interacted with SLT fields near the resonance region. A consequence of this defect was that the theory could not explain the puzzling double resonance effect. Namely the observation that the ionization level was much stronger when the HF frequency and the UH resonance were a multiple of the electron cyclotron frequency. To remedy this we used a series of Vlasov simulations to explore the HF-plasma interaction in the vicinity of the UH resonance. The simulations followed the evolution of the spectral density of the electric field over a 7.5 MHz frequency band and cm scale lengths and of the electron distribution function over one millisecond for both double resonant and non-resonant cases. Many new features were revealed by the analysis of the simulations such as: 1.Broadening of the wavenumber spectral region at the at the UH frequency 2.Excitation of all Bernstein modes associated with cyclotron frequency harmonics both below and above the UH frequency for both the resonant and non0resonant cases. 3.Moderate electron heating, in the form of bulk heating caused by first Bernstein mode, although its wave intensity is more than 20 dB lower than the intensity of the UH branch for all non-resonant cases. 4.Strong generation of non-thermal tails for the resonant cases by UH waves downshifted by the lower hybrid frequency when the downshifted frequency was equal to an harmonic of the electron gyro-frequency. The new UH turbulence resolves several f the mysteries associated with artificial ionization and suggests several new observations. Contributions by B. Elliasson, C. Najmi, G. Milikh, S. Sharma, Xi Shao and R. Sagdeev are gratefully acknowledged. Work supported by AFOSR MURI grant FA95501410019.