A Census of Plasma Waves and Structures Associated With an Injection Front in the Inner Magnetosphere

David M. Malaspina, Aleksandr Ukhorskiy, Xiangning Chu, John Wygant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Now that observations have conclusively established that the inner magnetosphere is abundantly populated with kinetic electric field structures and nonlinear waves, attention has turned to quantifying the ability of these structures and waves to scatter and accelerate inner magnetospheric plasma populations. A necessary step in that quantification is determining the distribution of observed structure and wave properties (e.g., occurrence rates, amplitudes, and spatial scales). Kinetic structures and nonlinear waves have broadband signatures in frequency space, and consequently, high-resolution time domain electric and magnetic field data are required to uniquely identify such structures and waves as well as determine their properties. However, most high-resolution fields data are collected with a strong bias toward high-amplitude signals in a preselected frequency range, strongly biasing observations of structure and wave properties. In this study, an ∼45 min unbroken interval of 16,384 samples/s field burst data, encompassing an electron injection event, is examined. This data set enables an unbiased census of the kinetic structures and nonlinear waves driven by this electron injection, as well as determination of their “typical” properties. It is found that the properties determined using this unbiased burst data are considerably different than those inferred from amplitude-biased burst data, with significant implications for wave-particle interactions due to kinetic structures and nonlinear waves in the inner magnetosphere.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2566-2587
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank the Van Allen Probes team, especially the EFW, EMFISIS, and ECT teams for their support. This work was funded by NASA award NNX17AB81G. The authors wish to acknowledge helpful conversations with Christine Gabrielse, John Bonnell, and George Hospodarsky. All data used in this work are available from the EFW, EMFISIS, and ECT team websites, which one can link to from http://rbspgway.jhuapl.edu.

Publisher Copyright:
©2018. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.


  • electron injection
  • inner magnetosphere
  • kinetic structures
  • plasma boundaries
  • plasma waves
  • radiation belts


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