Probabilities of ion scattering at the shock front

Michael Gedalin, Nikolai V. Pogorelov, Vadim Roytershteyn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Collisionless shocks efficiently convert the energy of the directed ion flow into their thermal energy. Ion distributions change drastically at the magnetized shock crossing. Even in the absence of collisions, ion dynamics within the shock front is non-integrable and gyrophase dependent. The downstream distributions just behind the shock are not gyrotropic but become so quickly due to the kinematic gyrophase mixing even in laminar shocks. During the gyrotropization all information about gyrophases is lost. Here we develop a mapping of upstream and downstream gyrotropic distributions in terms of scattering probabilities at the shock front. An analytical expression for the probability is derived for directly transmitted ions in the narrow shock approximation. The dependence of the probability on the magnetic compression and the cross-shock potential is demonstrated.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA242
JournalJournal of Plasma Physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 4 Feb 2022


  • astrophysical plasmas
  • space plasma physics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics


Dive into the research topics of 'Probabilities of ion scattering at the shock front'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this