Eigenmode structure in solar-wind langmuir waves

R. E. Ergun, D. M. Malaspina, Iver H. Cairns, M. V. Goldman, D. L. Newman, P. A. Robinson, S. Eriksson, J. L. Bougeret, C. Briand, S. D. Bale, C. A. Cattell, P. J. Kellogg, M. L. Kaiser

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79 Scopus citations


We show that observed spatial- and frequency-domain signatures of intense solar-wind Langmuir waves can be described as eigenmodes trapped in a parabolic density well. Measured solar-wind electric field spectra and waveforms are compared with 1D linear solutions and, in many cases, can be represented by 1"3 low-order eigenstates. To our knowledge, this report is the first observational confirmation of Langmuir eigenmodes in space. These results suggest that linear eigenmodes may be the starting point of the nonlinear evolution, critical for producing solar type II and type III radio bursts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number051101
JournalPhysical review letters
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 29 2008


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