New mechanism for electron heating in shocks

M. Balikhin, M. Gedalin, A. Petrukovich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


Electron trajectories diverge exponentially in a sufficiently small-scale electrostatic field with a static external magnetic field. This electron trajectory instability results in the electron heating in field structure typical for the collisionless shock front ramp. The magnitude of the effect is sufficient to explain the observed heating at the Earth's bow shock and interplanetary shocks. The heating features are consistent with the observations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1259-1262
Number of pages4
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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