Modification of the loss cone for energetic particles

posted Dec 3, 2014, 1:01 PM by Peter Porazik   [ updated Dec 3, 2014, 1:06 PM ]

Porazik, P., J. R. Johnson, I. Kaganovich, and E. Sanchez

Geophys. Res. Lett., 41, (2014)


The optimal pitch angle which maximizes the penetration distance, along the magnetic field, of relativistic charged particles injected from the midplane of an axisymmetric field is investigated analytically and numerically. Higher-order terms of the magnetic moment invariant are necessary to correctly determine the mirror point of trapped energetic particles, and therefore the loss cone. The modified loss cone resulting from the inclusion of higher-order terms is no longer entirely defined by the pitch angle but also by the phase angle of the particle at the point of injection. The optimal orientation of the injection has a nonzero component perpendicular to the magnetic field line, and is in the plane tangential to the flux surface. Numerical integration of particle orbits were carried out for a relativistic electron in a dipole field, showing agreement with analytic expressions. The results are relevant to experiments, which are concerned with injection of relativistic beams into the atmosphere from aboard a spacecraft in the magnetosphere.