, Volume 47, Issue 3, pp 185-204

Study of the Excitation Conditions and Characteristics of Ionospheric Plasma Turbulence at the Development Stage of the Ponderomotive Parametric Instability

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


We present the results of studying the development features of nonlinear effects at the initial stage of interaction of powerful HF radio waves with the plasma in the ionospheric F region. Experimental measurements were performed at the “Sura” heating facility for a wide pump frequency range (4.5–9.0 MHz) and a variety of pulse durations (0.3–100 ms) and effective radiated powers (1–30 MW) at various times of a day. The performed measurements allow us to study the excitation thresholds and time–amplitude characteristics of the ponderomotive self-action of a pump wave as well as the relaxation characteristics of the stimulated electromagnetic emission of the ionosphere as functions of the pump parameters and ionospheric conditions. The measured development features of the ponderomotive parametric instability in the ionospheric plasma are compared with the calculation results. The instability threshold fields (Eth≈ 220 mV/m) and the damping rates (γe≈ 450 s-1) of plasma waves, measured under evening-time conditions, are close to the estimates obtained on the assumption of collisional damping of Langmuir turbulence. A significant increase in the threshold field and the damping rate (by factors of up to 3 and 6, respectively) was observed under daytime conditions. In this case, the minimum values of these quantities (Eth≈ 350 mV/m and γe≈ 600 s-1) were observed for pump-wave reflection heights of about z≈ 230 km. The measurement and simulation results are indicative of the dominant effect of photoelectrons on the development features of ionospheric plasma turbulence under daytime conditions. We discuss the possibilities of using the developed method for comprehensive monitoring of the parameters of Langmuir turbulence and the background ionospheric plasma.