Backward wave cyclotron-maser emission in the auroral magnetosphere

D. C. Speirs*, R. Bingham, R. A. Cairns, I. Vorgul, B. J. Kellett, A. D. R. Phelps, K. Ronald

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
2 Downloads (Pure)


In this Letter, we present theory and particle-in-cell simulations describing cyclotron radio emission from Earth's auroral region and similar phenomena in other astrophysical environments. In particular, we find that the radiation, generated by a down-going electron horseshoe distribution is due to a backward wave cyclotron-maser emission process. The backward wave nature of the radiation contributes to upward refraction of the radiation that is also enhanced by a density inhomogeneity. We also show that the radiation is preferentially amplified along the auroral oval rather than transversely. The results are in agreement with recent Cluster observations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number155002
Number of pages5
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 7 Oct 2014


  • Kilometric radiation
  • Electron holes
  • Current region
  • Generation
  • Distributions
  • Instability


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