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    ABSTRACT: The physics of collisionless shocks is a very broad topic which has been studied for more than five decades. However, there are a number of important issues which remain unresolved. The energy repartition amongst particle populations in quasiperpendicular shocks is a multi-scale process related to the spatial and temporal structure of the electromagnetic fields within the shock layer. The most important processes take place in the close vicinity of the major magnetic transition or ramp region. The distribution of electromagnetic fields in this region determines the characteristics of ion reflection and thus defines the conditions for ion heating and energy dissipation for supercritical shocks and also the region where an important part of electron heating takes place. All of these processes are crucially dependent upon the characteristic spatial scales of the ramp and foot region provided that the shock is stationary. The earliest studies of collisionless shocks identified nonlinearity, dissipation, and dispersion as the processes that arrest the steepening of the shock transition. Their relative role determines the scales of electric and magnetic fields, and so control the characteristics of processes such as of ion reflection, electron heating and particle acceleration. The purpose of this review is to address a subset of unresolved problems in collisionless shock physics from experimental point of view making use multi-point observations onboard Cluster satellites. The problems we address are determination of scales of fields and of a scale of electron heating, identification of energy source of precursor wave train, an estimate of the role of anomalous resistivity in energy dissipation process by means of measuring short scale wave fields, and direct observation of reformation process during one single shock front crossing.
    Space Science Reviews 03/2013; · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present experiments on the Trident laser facility at Los Alamos National Laboratory which demonstrate key elements in the production of laser-driven, magnetized, laboratory-scaled astrophysical collisionless shocks. These include the creation of a novel magnetic piston to couple laser energy to a background plasma and the generation of a collisionless shock precursor. We also observe evidence of decoupling between a laser-driven fast ion population and a background plasma, in contrast to the coupling of laser-ablated slow ions with background ions through the magnetic piston. 2D hybrid simulations further support these developments and show the coupling of the slow to ambient ions, the formation of a magnetic and density compression pulses consistent with a collisionless shock, and the decoupling of the fast ions. V C 2012 American Institute of Physics. [http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4736846]
    Physics of Plasmas 07/2012; 19(7):070702. · 2.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present Wind spacecraft observations of ion distributions showing field-aligned beams (FABs) and large-amplitude magnetic fluctuations composed of a series of shocklets and short large-amplitude magnetic structures (SLAMS). We show that the SLAMS are acting like a local quasi-perpendicular shock reflecting ions to produce the FABs. Previous FAB observations reported the source as the quasi-perpendicular bow shock. The SLAMS exhibit a foot-like magnetic enhancement with a leading magnetosonic whistler train, consistent with previous observations. The FABs are found to have T_b ~ 80-850 eV, V_b/V_sw ~ 1-2, T_{b,perp}/T{b,para} ~ 1-10, and n_b/n_i ~ 0.2-14%. Strong ion and electron heating are observed within the series of shocklets and SLAMS increasing by factors \geq 5 and \geq 3, respectively. Both the core and halo electron components show strong perpendicular heating inside the feature.
    Journal of Geophysical Research 07/2012; · 3.17 Impact Factor

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