Electron cyclotron harmonic resonances in high-frequency heating of the ionosphere

Spencer P. Kuo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Electron acceleration by upper hybrid waves under cyclotron harmonic resonance interaction is studied. Theory is formulated; the analytical solutions in the second and fourth harmonic cyclotron resonance cases are obtained, and in the third harmonic case, a first order differential equation governing the evolution of the electron energy is derived. The theory is applied for explaining the generation of artificial ionization layers observed in high-frequency (HF) ionospheric heating experiments. The upper hybrid waves are assumed to be excited parametrically by the O-mode HF heating wave. As the decay mode is the lower hybrid wave, the excited upper hybrid waves have wavelengths ranging from 0.25 to 0.5 m, which are short enough to effectively incorporate the finite Larmour radius effect for the harmonic cyclotron resonance interactions as well as have a frequency bandwidth of about 20 kHz, which provides an altitude region of about 10 km for continuous harmonic cyclotron resonance interaction between electrons and descending waves in the slightly inhomogeneous geomagnetic field. The numerical results on electron acceleration show that electron fluxes with energies larger than 14 eV are generated in the three harmonic cases. These energetic electrons cause impact ionizations, which are descending to form artificial ionization layers at the bottom of the ionospheric F region.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number092124
JournalPhysics of Plasmas
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics


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