Van Allen Probes observation of localized drift resonance between poloidal mode ultra-low frequency waves and 60 keV electrons

S. G. Claudepierre, I. R. Mann, K. Takahashi, J. F. Fennell, M. K. Hudson, J. B. Blake, J. L. Roeder, J. H. Clemmons, H. E. Spence, G. D. Reeves, D. N. Baker, H. O. Funsten, R. H. W. Friedel, M. G. Henderson, C. A. Kletzing, W. S. Kurth, R. J. Macdowall, C. W. Smith, J. R. Wygant

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127 Scopus citations


We present NASA Van Allen Probes observations of wave-particle interactions between magnetospheric ultra-low frequency (ULF) waves and energetic electrons (20-500 keV) on 31 October 2012. The ULF waves are identified as the fundamental poloidal mode oscillation and are excited following an interplanetary shock impact on the magnetosphere. Large amplitude modulations in energetic electron flux are observed at the same period (≈ 3 min) as the ULF waves and are consistent with a drift-resonant interaction. The azimuthal mode number of the interacting wave is estimated from the electron measurements to be ∼40, based on an assumed symmetric drift resonance. The drift-resonant interaction is observed to be localized and occur over 5-6 wave cycles, demonstrating peak electron flux modulations at energies ∼60 keV. Our observation clearly shows electron drift resonance with the fundamental poloidal mode, the energy dependence of the amplitude and phase of the electron flux modulations providing strong evidence for such an interaction. Significantly, the observation highlights the importance of localized wave-particle interactions for understanding energetic particle dynamics in the inner magnetosphere, through the intermediary of ULF waves. Key Points First conclusive evidence of electron drift-resonance with poloidal ULF waves. First to show the energy dependence to the amplitude/phase expected from theory. Observation shows the drift-resonant interaction occurs over a localized region.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4491-4497
Number of pages7
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number17
StatePublished - Sep 16 2013


  • drift-resonance
  • inner magnetosphere
  • radial diffusion
  • radiation belt electron
  • ultra-low frequency


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