Space Science Reviews

, Volume 212, Issue 1–2, pp 249–294 | Cite as

Incoherent Scatter Plasma Lines: Observations and Applications

  • Hassanali AkbariEmail author
  • Asti Bhatt
  • Cesar La Hoz
  • Joshua L. Semeter


Space plasmas are host to the electrostatic Langmuir waves and a rich range of processes associated with them. Many of such processes that are of interest in micro-scale plasma physics and magnetosphere-ionosphere physics are open to investigation via incoherent scatter plasma lines—i.e., a pair of resonant peaks in the incoherent scatter radar (ISR) spectrum, symmetrically displaced from the radar transmitting frequency by about the plasma frequency, as the signature of Langmuir waves in the ISR spectrum. There now exists a large body of literature devoted to the investigation of a number of topics in ionospheric physics via plasma line theory and observation. It is the goal of this work to provide a comprehensive review of this literature, from the early theoretical works on oscillations in magnetized plasma to the recent advances in plasma line measurements and applications. This review includes detailed theoretical discussions on the intensity and frequency displacement of plasma lines. It reviews the experimental observations of plasma lines enhanced by various sources of energy and discusses the implications of the observations in the context of ionospheric physics. The review also covers the practical aspects of plasma line measurements, from measurement techniques to the applications of plasma lines in estimating the bulk parameters of the ionosphere.


Incoherent scatter radar Plasma lines Ionospheric plasma 



This work was supported by the National Science Foundation under grant AGS-1339500, and by the Air Force Office of Sponsored Research under contract FA9550-15-1-0503.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hassanali Akbari
    • 1
    Email author
  • Asti Bhatt
    • 2
  • Cesar La Hoz
    • 3
  • Joshua L. Semeter
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Space PhysicsBoston UniversityBostonUSA
  2. 2.SRI InternationalMenlo ParkUSA
  3. 3.Department of Physics and TechnologyUniversity of TromsoTromsoNorway

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