Nonlinear Evolution of the Whistler Heat Flux Instability

Ilya V. Kuzichev, Ivan Y. Vasko, Angel Rualdo Soto-Chavez, Yuguang Tong, Anton V. Artemyev, Stuart D. Bale, Anatoly Spitkovsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


We use the one-dimensional TRISTAN-MP particle-in-cell code to model the nonlinear evolution of the whistler heat flux instability (WHFI) that was proposed by Gary et al. and Gary & Li to regulate the electron heat flux in the solar wind and astrophysical plasmas. The simulations are initialized with electron velocity distribution functions typical for the solar wind. We perform a set of simulations at various initial values of the electron heat flux and β e. The simulations show that parallel whistler waves produced by the WHFI saturate at amplitudes consistent with the spacecraft measurements. The simulations also reproduce the correlations of the saturated whistler wave amplitude with the electron heat flux and β e revealed in the spacecraft measurements. The major result is that parallel whistler waves produced by the WHFI do not significantly suppress the electron heat flux. The presented simulations indicate that coherent parallel whistler waves observed in the solar wind are unlikely to regulate the heat flux of solar wind electrons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number81
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 10 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • instabilities
  • plasmas
  • solar wind
  • waves


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