Generation of extra and very low-frequency (ELF/VLF) radiation by ionospheric electrojet modulation using high-frequency (HF) heating waves

S. P. Kuo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Extra and very low-frequency (ELF/VLF) wave generation by modulated polar electrojet currents is studied numerically. Through Ohmic heating by the amplitude-modulated high-frequency heating wave, the conductivity and thus the current of the electrojet are modulated accordingly to set up the ionospheric antenna current. Stimulated thermal instability, which can further enhance the electrojet current modulation, is studied. It is first analysed analytically to determine the threshold heating power for its excitation. The nonlinear evolutions of the generated ELF/VLF waves enhanced by the instability are then studied numerically. Their spectra are also evaluated. The field intensity of the emission at the fundamental modulation frequency is found to increase with the modulation frequency in agreement with the Tromso observations. The efficiency enhancement by the stimulated thermal instability is hampered by inelastic collisions of electrons with neutral particles (mainly due to vibration excitation of N2), which cause this instability to saturate at low levels. However, the electron inelastic collision loss rate drops rapidly to a low value in the energy regime from 3.5 to 6eV. As the heating power exceeds a threshold level, significant electron heating enhanced by the instability is shown, which indeed causes a steep drop in the electron inelastic collision loss rate. Consequently, this instability saturates at a much higher level, resulting to a near step increase (of about 10-13 dB depending on the modulation wave form) in the spectral intensity of ELF radiation. The dependence of the threshold power of the HF heating wave on the modulation frequency is determined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)267-284
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Plasma Physics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics


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