Acceleration of electrons in strong beam‐plasma interactions

Klaus Wilhelm, William Bernstein, Paul J. Kellogg, Brian A. Whalen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The sounding rocket payload SCEX (Several Compatible Experiments to utilize an electron accelerator; NASA flight 27.045) launched on January 27, 1982 from the Churchill Research Range provided an opportunity to observe the effects of strong beam‐plasma interactions on the electron population in a region of space remote from the main payload carrying the accelerator. We present observations demonstrating that electron energies of up to four times the injection energy occurred during accelerator operations in high‐current mode. Detailed instrumental performance characteristics in flight and in the laboratory will be discussed. The acceleration events occurred at reception pitch angles between 54° and 126°. Long confinement times seem to be a necessary condition for generating the energetic electrons. It is proposed that they result from the length of the interaction region.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1176-1179
Number of pages4
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1984


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