M. W. Dunlop

Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics (Beihang University), Peping, Beijing, China

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Publications (556)758.02 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Unambiguous knowledge of magnetic field structure and the electric current distribution is critical for understanding the origin, evolution and related dynamic properties of magnetic flux ropes (MFRs). In this paper, a survey of 13 MFRs in the Earth's magnetotail are conducted by Cluster multi-point analysis, so that their force-free feature, i.e., the kind of magnetic field structure satisfying J × B = 0, can be probed directly. It is showed that the selected flux ropes with the bipolar signature of the South–north magnetic field component generally lie near the equatorial plane, as expected, and that the magnetic field gradient is rather weak near the axis center, where the curvature radius is large. The current density (up to several tens of nA/m2) reach their maximum values as the center is approached. It is found that the stronger the current density, the smaller the angles between the magnetic field and current in MFRs. The direct observations show that only quasi force-free structure is observed and it tends to appear in the low plasma beta regime (in agreement with the theoretic results). The quasi force-free region is generally found to be embedded in the central portion of the MFRs, where the current is approximately field-aligned and proportional to the strength of core field. It is shown that, ~60% of surveyed MFRs can be globally approximated as force-free. The force-free factor α is found to be non-constantly varied through the quasi force-free MFR, suggesting that the force-free structure is non-linear.
    Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics. 08/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: We report the in-situ observation of a plasma vortex induced by a solar wind dynamic pressure enhancement in the nightside plasma sheet using multi-point measurements from THEMIS satellites. The vortex has a scale of 5–10 Re and propagates several Re downtail, expanding while propagating. The features of the vortex are consistent with the prediction of the Sibeck [1990] model, and the vortex can penetrate deep (~8Re) in the dawn-dusk direction and couple to field line oscillations. Global magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) simulations are carried out and it is found that the simulation and observations are consistent with each other. Data from THEMIS ground magnetometer stations indicate a poleward propagating vortex in the ionosphere, with a rotational sense consistent with the existence of the vortex observed in the magnetotail.
    Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics. 06/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The penetration of Interplanetary Magnetic Field (IMF) By into the magnetosphere plays an important role in determining magnetospheric configuration and its dynamics. In this paper, using 9 years of Cluster data at the center of neutral sheet, we statistically study the relations of the penetration of IMF By in the neutral sheet (NS) with IMF Bz and the Kp index. The correlation coefficient between NS By and IMF By is enhanced during the periods of southward IMF Bz and large Kp indexes. The penetration efficiency of IMF By, which is defined as the slope of the linear fit of the points in the By -IMF By space, is larger during southward IMF Bz than during northward IMF Bz. The penetration efficiency of IMF By also increases with increasing Kp index. Since the Kp index can be considered as an index of magnetospheric convection, this means that the penetration of IMF By into the magnetosphere is enhanced during the periods of strong magnetospheric convection. These results indicate that the IMF Bz and magnetospheric convection can influence the neutral sheet By and even magnetotail dynamics by changing the penetration of IMF By.
    Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics. 06/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Magnetic disturbances caused by the Earth's ring current, particularly during storm time activity, have a dominant effect on the geomagnetic field. Strong currents and large kinetic and magnetic energies can change considerably local field geometry, and depress the ground geomagnetic field. The multi-spacecraft magnetic measurements of Cluster allow extensive in situ coverage of the ring current, We select 48 storm time Cluster crossing events to investigate the variation of the local current density distribution and magnetic configuration of the ring current. We find direct evidence for the existence of an inner, eastward flowing current in addition to the dominant westward current, in the ring plane. The radius of curvature of the magnetic field lines (MFLs) is found to be increasingly reduced at all local times during increasing storm activity, changing the resulting ring current magnetic geometry considerably, where the MFL configuration and the azimuthal current density distribution, are asymmetric with the local time. During similar storm activity the radius of curvature of the local MFLs, RC, is smallest on the nightside to duskside, medium on the dawnside, and largest on the dayside. This change in geometry may have significant influence on the spatial distribution of the particles with various energies in the plasmasphere, ring current and radiation belts.
    Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics. 03/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: [1] In this paper, we test whether time periods with hot proton temperature anisotropy are associated with EMIC waves, and whether the plasma conditions during the observed waves satisfy the linear theory threshold condition. We identify 865 events observed by the Composition DIstribution Function (CODIF) instrument onboard Cluster spacecraft 4 (SC4) during 1 January 2001 – 1 January 2011 that exhibit a positive temperature anisotropy (Ahp = T⊥ h/T∥ h − 1) in the 10-40 keV protons. The events occur over an L range from 4 to 10 in all magnetic local times and at magnetic latitudes (MLAT) within ±50°. Of these Hot Proton Temperature Anisotropy (HPTA) events, only 68 events have electromagnetic ion cyclotron (EMIC) waves. In these 68 HPTA events, for those at 3.81.0 nT2/Hz mainly appear in the region with fEMIC/fH,eq 0.45 * fEMIC/fH,lo, and Ahp/(Ahp + 1) 0.25. By testing a threshold equation for the EMIC instability based on linear theory, we find that for EMIC waves with |MLAT| ≤ 10° in the He, H and > H bands the percentages that satisfy the predicted conditions for wave growth by the threshold equation are 15.2%, 24.6% and 25.6%. For the EMIC waves with |MLAT| > 10° the percentages that satisfy the wave growth predicted conditions are only 2.8%, 2.6% and 0.0%. Finally, possible reasons for the low forecast accuracies of EMIC waves are suggested.
    Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics. 01/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Knowing the magnetic field distribution in the magnetotail current sheet (CS) is essential for exploring magnetotail dynamics. In this study, using a joint dataset of Cluster/TC-1, the radial profile of the magnetic field in the magnetotail CS with radial distances covering 8<r<20 RE under different geomagnetic activity states (i.e., AE≤100 nT for quiet intervals while AE>100 nT for active times) and solar wind parameters are statistically surveyed. Our new findings demonstrate that, independent of the activity state, the field strength and Bz component (GSM coordinates) start the monotonic increase prominently as r decreases down to ∼11.5RE, which means the dipole field starts to make a significant contribution from there. At least in the surveyed radial range, the Bz component is found to be weaker in the midnight and dusk sectors than that in the dawn sector, displaying a dawn-dusk asymmetry. The occurrence rate of negative Bz in active times also exhibits a similar asymmetric distribution, which implies active dynamics may occur more frequently at midnight and dusk flank. In comparison with that in quiet intervals, several features can be seen in active times: (1) a local Bz minimum between 10.5<r<12.5 RE is found in the dusk region, (2) the Bz component around the midnight region is generally stronger and experiences larger fluctuations, and (3) a sharp positive/negative-excursion of the By component occurs at the dawn/dusk flank regions inside r<10 RE. The response to solar wind parameters revealed that the Bz component is generally stronger under higher dynamic pressure (Pdy>5 nPa), which may support the dawn-dusk squeezing effect as presented by Miyashita et al. (2010). The CS By is generally correlated with the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) By component, and the correlation quality is found to be better with higher penetration coefficient (the ratio of CS By to IMF By) when IMF Bz is positive. The implications of the present results are discussed.
    Planetary and Space Science 01/2014; · 2.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The influences of the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) cone angle θ and clock angle ϕ on the field-aligned currents (FACs) at the plasma sheet boundary layers (PSBLs) have been investigated using Cluster Data. The FAC occurrence increases monotonically with IMF cone angle and has two peaks at -90° and +110° clock angle, respectively. The peak at +110° is distinctly larger than that at -90°. Overall, there are more FACs between 0° < ϕ < 180°, indicating that FACs occurrence is closely associated with duskward IMF. More FACs occur when 90° < |ϕ| < 180°, implying that FAC is closely associated with southward IMF. The large FAC densities occur when 60° < |ϕ| < 120°. The density also has two peaks and the peak at +90° clock angle (duskward IMF) is larger than that at -90° (dawnward IMF). These results indicate that the IMF influence on the FACs is from all IMF components and not only from a single component.
    Geophysical Research Letters. 10/2013; 40(20).
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    ABSTRACT: is well accepted that the propagation of electromagnetic ion cyclotron (EMIC) waves are bidirectional near their source regions and unidirectional when away from these regions. The generally believed source region for EMIC waves is around the magnetic equatorial plane. Here we describe a series of EMIC waves in the Pc1 (0.2-5 Hz) frequency band above the local He+ cyclotron frequency observed in situ by all four Cluster spacecraft on 9 April 2005 at midmagnetic latitudes (MLAT = ~33°-49°) with L = 10.7-11.5 on the dayside (MLT = 10.3-10.4). A Poynting vector spectrum shows that the wave packets consist of multiple groups of packets propagating bidirectionally, rather than unidirectionally, away from the equator, while the local plasma conditions indicate that the spacecraft are entering into a region sufficient for local wave excitation. One possible interpretation is that, while part of the observed waves are inside their source region, the others are either close enough to the source region, or mixed with the wave packets from multiple source regions at different latitudes.
    Journal of Geophysical Research 10/2013; 118(10):6266-6278. · 3.17 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: [1] Flux transfer events (FTEs) are magnetic flux ropes formed at planetary magnetopauses (MPs). Although evidence suggests that FTEs form through time-dependent magnetic reconnection, details of that process and 3D structure of the flux ropes remain largely unclear. This letter presents Double Star/TC-1 data of an FTE occurred on 7 April 2004 which show that the FTE was separated by two X-lines moving south-dawnward. In particular, the electron energy-pitch angle distribution implies that the FTE was composed of flux ropes of all four possible magnetic topologies, indicating that the field lines must have reconnected multiple times. This is an intrinsic property of FTEs formed by 3D multiple X-line reconnection distinguished from quasi 2D FTE models. This knowledge of FTE magnetic topologies helps to improve our understanding of solar wind- magnetosphere coupling at the MP.
    Geophysical Research Letters. 07/2013; 40(14).
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    ABSTRACT: On 14 June 2007, four Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms spacecraft observed a flux transfer event (FTE) on the dayside magnetopause, which has been previously proved to be generated by multiple, sequential X-line reconnection (MSXR) in a 2-D context. This paper reports a further study of the MSXR event to show the 3-D viewpoint based on additional measurements. The 3-D structure of the FTE flux rope across the magnetospheric boundary is obtained on the basis of multipoint measurements taken on both sides of the magnetopause. The flux rope's azimuthally extended section is found to lie approximately on the magnetopause surface and parallel to the X-line direction; while the axis of the magnetospheric branch is essentially along the local unperturbed magnetospheric field lines. In the central region of the flux rope, as distinct from the traditional viewpoint, we find from the electron distributions that two types of magnetic field topology coexist: opened magnetic field lines connecting the magnetosphere and the magnetosheath and closed field lines connecting the Southern and Northern hemispheres. We confirm, therefore, for the first time, the characteristic feature of the 3-D reconnected magnetic flux rope, formed through MSXR, through a determination of the field topology and the plasma distributions within the flux rope. Knowledge of the complex geometry of FTE flux ropes will improve our understanding of solar wind-magnetosphere interaction.
    Journal of Geophysical Research 05/2013; 118(5):1904-1911. · 3.17 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Modelling plasma entry in the polar cusp has been successful in reproducing ion dispersions observed in the cusp at low and mid-altitudes. The use of a realistic convection pattern, when the IMF-By is large and stable, allowed Wing et al. (2001) to predict double cusp signatures that were subsequently observed by the DMSP spacecraft. In this paper we present a cusp crossing where two cusp populations are observed, separated by a gap around 1° Invariant Latitude (ILAT) wide. Cluster 1 (C1) and Cluster 2 (C2) observed these two cusp populations with a time delay of 3 min, and about 15 and 42 min later Cluster 4 (C4) and Cluster 3 (C3) observed, respectively, a single cusp population. A peculiarity of this event is the fact that the second cusp population seen on C1 and C2 was observed at the same time as the first cusp population on C4. This would tend to suggest that the two cusp populations had spatial features similar to the double cusp. Due to the nested crossing of C1 and C2 through the gap between the two cusp populations, C2 being first to leave the cusp and last to re-enter it, these observations are difficult to be explained by two distinct cusps with a gap in between. However, since we observe the cusp in a narrow area of local time post-noon, a second cusp may have been present in the pre-noon sector but could not be observed. On the other hand, these observations are in agreement with a motion of the cusp first dawnward and then back duskward due to the effect of the IMF-By component.
    Annales Geophysicae 04/2013; 31(4):713-723. · 1.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: works have emphasized the significant influence of the solar wind Alfvén Mach number (MA) on magnetospheric dynamics. Here we report statistical, observational results that pertain to changes in the magnetosheath flow distribution and magnetopause shape as a function of solar wind MA and interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) clock angle orientation. We use all Cluster 1 data in the magnetosheath during the period 2001-2010, using an appropriate spatial superposition procedure, to produce magnetosheath flow distributions as a function of location in the magnetosheath relative to the IMF and other parameters. The results demonstrate that enhanced flows in the magnetosheath are expected at locations quasi-perpendicular to the IMF direction in the plane perpendicular to the Sun-Earth line; in other words, for the special case of a northward IMF, enhanced flows are observed on the dawn and dusk flanks of the magnetosphere, while much lower flows are observed above the poles. The largest flows are adjacent to the magnetopause. Using appropriate magnetopause crossing lists (for both high and low MA), we also investigate the changes in magnetopause shape as a function of solar wind MA and IMF orientation. Comparing observed magnetopause crossings with predicted positions from an axisymmetric semi-empirical model, we statistically show that the magnetopause is generally circular during high MA, while is it elongated (albeit with moderate statistical significance) along the direction of the IMF during low MA. These findings are consistent with enhanced magnetic forces that prevail in the magnetosheath during low MA. The component of the magnetic forces parallel to the magnetopause produces the enhanced flows along and adjacent to the magnetopause, while the component normal to the magnetopause exerts an asymmetric pressure on the magnetopause that deforms it into an elongated shape.
    Journal of Geophysical Research 03/2013; 118(3):1089-1100. · 3.17 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: An understanding of the transport of solar wind plasma into and throughout the terrestrial magnetosphere is crucial to space science and space weather. For non-active periods, there is little agreement on where and how plasma entry into the magnetosphere might occur. Moreover, behaviour in the high-latitude region behind the magnetospheric cusps, for example, the lobes, is poorly understood, partly because of lack of coverage by previous space missions. Here, using Cluster multi-spacecraft data, we report an unexpected discovery of regions of solar wind entry into the Earth's high-latitude magnetosphere tailward of the cusps. From statistical observational facts and simulation analysis we suggest that these regions are most likely produced by magnetic reconnection at the high-latitude magnetopause, although other processes, such as impulsive penetration, may not be ruled out entirely. We find that the degree of entry can be significant for solar wind transport into the magnetosphere during such quiet times.
    Nature Communications 02/2013; 4:1466. · 10.02 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: 1] We develop a new simple method for inferring the orientation of a magnetic flux rope, which is assumed to be a time-independent cylindrically symmetric structure via the direct single-point analysis of magnetic field structure. The model tests demonstrate that, for the cylindrical flux rope regardless of whether it is force-free or not, the method can consistently yield the axis orientation of the flux rope with higher accuracy and stability than the minimum variance analysis of the magnetic field and the Grad-Shafranov reconstruction technique. Moreover, the radial distance to the axis center and the current density can also be estimated consistently. Application to two actual flux transfer events observed by the four satellites of the Cluster mission demonstrates that the method is more appropriate to be used for the inner part of flux rope, which might be closer to the cylindrical structure, showing good agreement with the results obtained from the optimal Grad-Shafranov reconstruction and the least squares technique of Faraday's law, but fails to produce such agreement for the outer satellite that grazes the flux rope. Therefore, the method must be used with caution., Method for inferring the axis orientation of cylindrical magnetic flux rope based on single-point measurement, J. Geophys. Res., 118, doi:10.1029/2012JA018079.
    Journal of Geophysical Research 01/2013; · 3.17 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Using the Cluster cusp crossings data, dependence of the cusp location at the mid-altitude on the geomagnetic dipole tilt during northward IMF is studied. The results show that the cusp center moves 0.051° Invariant Latitude (ILAT) upon the increase of 1° in the dipole tilt angle at the average altitude of 5.8 RE (Earth radius). According to the present results obtained at the altitude of the Cluster orbit and previous results obtained at other altitudes of other satellite orbits, it is found that the higher the altitude in the cusp region is, the bigger the dependence of cusp location on the dipole tilt angle will be. If the altitude increases by 1 RE in the cusp region, the dependence will increase by 0.012° ILAT upon the increase of 1° in the dipole tilt angle. Some possible physical mechanisms are discussed and it shows that the cusp location will be more sensitive to the solar wind dynamic pressure if the altitude is high.
    Chinese Science Bulletin 01/2013; · 1.37 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The fine magnetic field structure of two successive plasmoids previously reported is investigated by magnetic rotation analysis using four Cluster satellite data. Between these two plasmoids, opposite trends of curvature radius (Rc) variations of the magnetic field lines from the boundary to the inner part are found. The different variations of Rc reflect that the two plasmoids have different magnetic configurations. The electric current density distributions for both plasmoids are found distinct. The By increase and abundant field‐aligned currents in the narrow core region of the first plasmoid indicate that a possible magnetic flux rope (MFR) core exists inside. The results indicate that the first observed plasmoid is of a magnetic loop (ML) type (with possible MFR core) and the second plasmoid is of a magnetic flux rope (MFR) type. The coexistence of ML and MFR in the near‐Earth plasma sheet may imply that multiple X line reconnection can occur by either an antiparallel or a component‐parallel way.
    Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics. 01/2013; 118(9).
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    ABSTRACT: The influence of the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) By component on the field-aligned currents (FACs) in the plasma sheet boundary layer (PSBL) in the magnetotail during the northward IMF were investigated using the data from Cluster. There are 748 FACs cases selected to do analysis. We present that the IMF By component plays a very important role in controlling the flow direction of the FACs in the PSBL in the magnetotail. In the northern hemisphere, the influence of the positive (negative) IMF By is an earthward (tailward) FACs. To the contrary, in the southern hemisphere, the effect of the positive (negative) IMF By is a tailward (earthward) FACs. There is a clear north–south asymmetry of the polarity of the FACs in the PSBL when IMF By is positive or negative, and this asymmetry of the polarity is more distinct when IMF By is positive. The FAC density is controlled by IMF By only when |IMF By| is large. When |IMF By| is more than 10 nT the absolute FAC density in the PSBL has an obvious positive correlation with the |IMF By|. When |IMF By| is less than 10 nT, there is no correlation between the absolute FAC density and |IMF By|. There is a clear dusk–dawn asymmetry in the current densities for the FACs in the PSBL, with the dawn currents appearing larger than the dusk currents. The FAC with the largest (smallest) density is located in the range of 0100≤MLT<0200 (2100≤MLT<2200).
    Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics 01/2013; · 1.42 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Nonlinear wave-driven processes in plasmas are normally described by either a monochromatic pump wave that couples to other monochromatic waves, or as a random phase wave coupling to other random phase waves. An alternative approach involves a random or broadband pump coupling to monochromatic and/or coherent structures in the plasma. This approach can be implemented through the wave-kinetic model. In this model, the incoming pump wave is described by either a bunch (for coherent waves) or a sea (for random phase waves) of quasi-particles. This approach has been applied to both photon acceleration in laser wakefields and drift wave turbulence in magnetized plasma edge configurations. Numerical simulations have been compared to experiments, varying from photon acceleration to drift mode-zonal flow turbulence, and good qualitative correspondences have been found in all cases.
    Journal of Plasma Physics 12/2012; 76(06):903-914. · 0.76 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: 1] We present a generalized multipoint analysis of physical quantities, such as magnetic field and plasma flow, based on spatial gradient properties, where the multipoint data may be taken by irregular (distorted) configurations of any number of spacecraft. The methodology is modified from a previous, fully 3-D gradient analysis technique, designed to apply strictly to 4-point measurements and to be stable for regular spacecraft configurations. Here, we adapt the method to be tolerant against distorted configurations and to return a partial result when fewer spacecraft measurements are available. We apply the method to a variety of important physical quantities, such as the electric current density and the vorticity of plasma flows based on Cluster and THEMIS multiple-point measurements. The method may also have valuable applications on the coming Swarm mission. Citation: Shen, C., et al. (2012), Spatial gradients from irregular, multiple-point spacecraft configurations, J. Geophys. Res., 117, A11207, doi:10.1029/2012JA018075.
    Journal of Geophysical Research 11/2012; · 3.17 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A substorm dispersionless injection event observed during the storm recovery phase on 11 March 1998 at geosynchronous orbit is carefully studied. The event shows the notable characteristics that for energetic ions the flux enhancement ratio before and after injection increases and remains elevated with increasing energy, while for energetic electrons it tends to decrease with increasing energy. In order to explain the unique injection feature, the authors propose a possible mechanism that velocity space diffusion in common to electric acceleration adjusts the particle injection state. Spectral characteristics of four different phases (pregrowth phase, the growth phase, the substorm expansion phase, and the recovery phase) have been investigated. The differential fluxes of electrons from 50 keV to 1.5 Mev and ions from 50 keV to 1.2 MeV measured by Synchronous Orbit Plasma Analyzer (SOPA) instrument onboard LANL satellite 1991-080 are found to be best fitted with the three-parameter kappa distribution function (f ˜ A0 · E[1 + E / (κE0)]-κ-1) by Levenberg-Marquardt and Universal Global Optimization methods. The evolutions of the three parameters in the above kappa distribution in different substorm phases have been depicted for both electrons and ions. In each phase, E0 and κ show an approximately linear relationship κ(E0) = κ0 + ηE0. This linear relationship can be obtained by solving the velocity space diffusion equation with an initial superthermal kappa distribution. Ion and electron are found to have opposite trend of parameters κ0 and η in each phase, which indicates that the different species of particles exert different velocity space diffusion processes so that their flux enhancement ratios before and after injection are rather different. This implies that not only electric field acceleration, but also velocity space diffusion plays a very important role in the particle injection.
    Journal of Geophysical Research 11/2012; 117(A11):11210-. · 3.17 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

5k Citations
758.02 Total Impact Points


  • 2010–2014
    • Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics (Beihang University)
      • School of Astronautics
      Peping, Beijing, China
    • Wuhan University
      • School of Electronic Information
      Wu-han-shih, Hubei, China
  • 2013
    • Peking University
      • School of Earth and Space Sciences
      Beijing, Beijing Shi, China
  • 1–2011
    • Imperial College London
      • Department of Physics
      Londinium, England, United Kingdom
  • 2009
    • La Trobe University
      Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  • 2008
    • University of California, Berkeley
      • Space Sciences Laboratory
      Berkeley, CA, United States
  • 2007
    • Technische Universität Braunschweig
      • Institute for Geophysics and Extraterrestrial Physics
      Brunswyck, Lower Saxony, Germany
  • 2005
    • University of California, Los Angeles
      • Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics
      Los Angeles, CA, United States
  • 2003
    • Boston University
      • Center for Space Physics
      Boston, MA, United States
  • 2002
    • KTH Royal Institute of Technology
      Tukholma, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 2001
    • University of New Hampshire
      • Space Science Center
      Durham, New Hampshire, United States
  • 1997
    • University of Leicester
      • Department of Physics and Astronomy
      Leicester, ENG, United Kingdom
  • 1995
    • Imperial Valley College
      Imperial, California, United States
  • 1990
    • University of Cologne
      • Institute of Geophysics and Meteorology
      Köln, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany