Nonlinear effects of electron‐electron collisions on ISR temperature measurements
Longley, William J.
Oppenheim, Meers M.
Dimant, Yakov S.
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Citation (published version)William J Longley, Meers M Oppenheim, Yakov S Dimant. 2019. "Nonlinear Effects of Electron‐Electron Collisions on ISR Temperature Measurements." Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, Volume 124, Issue 7, pp. 6313 - 6329. https://doi.org/10.1029/2019ja026753
Incoherent scatter radars (ISR) estimate the electron and ion temperatures in the ionosphere by fitting measured spectra of ion‐acoustic waves to forward models. For radars looking at aspect angles within 5° off perpendicular to the Earth's magnetic field, the magnetic field constrains electron movement and Coulomb collisions add an additional source of damping that narrows the spectra. Fitting the collisionally narrowed spectra to collisionless forward models leads to errors or underestimates of the plasma temperatures. This paper presents the first fully kinetic particle‐in‐cell (PIC) simulations of ISR spectra with collisional damping by velocity‐dependent electron‐electron and electron‐ion collisions. For aspect angles between 0.5° and 2° off perpendicular, the damping effects of electron‐ion and electron‐electron collisions in the PIC simulations are the same and the resulting spectra are narrower than what current theories and models predict. For aspect angles larger than 3° away from perpendicular, the simulations with electron‐ion collisions match collisionless ISR theory well, but spectra with electron‐electron collisions are narrower than theory predicts at aspect angles as large as 5° away from perpendicular. At aspect angles less than 5° the PIC simulations produce narrower spectra than previous simulations using single‐particle displacement statistics that include both electron‐ion and electron‐electron collisions. The narrowing of spectra by electron‐electron collisions in the PIC code between 3° and 5° away from perpendicular is currently neglected when fitting measured spectra from the Jicamarca and Millstone Hill radars, leading to underestimates of electron temperatures by as much as 25% at small aspect angles.