Scaling of the Electron Dissipation Range of Solar Wind Turbulence





Citation of Original Publication

Sahraoui, F., S. Y. Huang, G. Belmont, M. L. Goldstein, A. Rétino, P. Robert, and J. De Patoul. “Scaling of the Electron Dissipation Range of Solar Wind Turbulence.” The Astrophysical Journal 777, no. 1 (October 2013): 15.


This work was written as part of one of the author's official duties as an Employee of the United States Government and is therefore a work of the United States Government. In accordance with 17 U.S.C. 105, no copyright protection is available for such works under U.S. Law.
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Electron scale solar wind (SW) turbulence has attracted great interest in recent years. Considerable evidence exists that the turbulence is not fully dissipated near the proton scale, but continues cascading down to electron scales. However, the scaling of the magnetic energy spectra as well as the nature of the plasma modes involved at those small scales are still not fully determined. Here we survey 10 yr of the Cluster STAFF search-coil magnetometer waveforms measured in the SW and perform a statistical study of the magnetic energy spectra in the frequency range [1, 180] Hz. We found that 75% of the analyzed spectra exhibit breakpoints near the electron gyroscale ρe, followed by steeper power-law-like spectra. We show that the scaling below the electron breakpoint cannot be determined unambiguously due to instrumental limitations that we discuss in detail. We compare our results to those reported in other studies and discuss their implications for the physical mechanisms involved and for theoretical modeling of energy dissipation in the SW.