A Statistical Analysis of Langmuir Wave-Electron Correlations Observed by the CHARM II Auroral Sounding Rocket

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Micah P Dombrowski1, James W Labelle1, Craig Kletzing2, Scott R Bounds3 and Stephen Roland Kaeppler4, (1)Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH, United States, (2)Univ. of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, United States, (3)University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, United States, (4)SRI International, Menlo Park, CA, United States
Langmuir-mode electron plasma waves are frequently observed by spacecraft in active plasma environments such as the ionosphere. Ionospheric Langmuir waves may be excited by the bump-on-tail instability generated by impinging beams of electrons traveling parallel to the background magnetic field (B). The Correlation of High-frequencies and Auroral Roar Measurement (CHARM II) sounding rocket was launched into a substorm at 9:49 UT on 17 February 2010, from the Poker Flat Research Range in Alaska. The primary instruments included the University of Iowa Wave-Particle Correlator (WPC), the Dartmouth High-Frequency Experiment (HFE), several charged particle detectors, low-frequency wave instruments, and a magnetometer. The HFE is a receiver system which effectively yields continuous (100% duty cycle) electric-field waveform measurements from 100 kHz to 5 MHz, and which had its detection axis aligned nominally parallel to B. The HFE output was fed on-payload to the WPC, which uses a phase-locked loop to track the incoming wave frequency with the most power, then sorting incoming electrons at eight energy levels into sixteen wave-phase bins. CHARM II encountered several regions of strong Langmuir wave activity throughout its 15-minute flight, and the WPC showed wave-lock and statistically significant particle correlation distributions during several time periods. We show results of an in-depth analysis of the CHARM II WPC data for the entire flight, including statistical analysis of correlations which show evidence of direct interaction with the Langmuir waves, indicating (at various times) trapping of particles and both driving and damping of Langmuir waves by particles. In particular, the sign of the gradient in particle flux appears to correlate with the phase relation between the electrons and the wave field, with possible implications for the wave physics.