The spectral difference between solar flare HXR coronal and footpoint sources due to wave-particle interactions
I. G. Hannah and E. P. Kontar
School of Physics & Astronomy, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK
Received: 7 September 2010
Accepted: 10 March 2011
Aims. We investigate the spatial and spectral evolution of hard X-ray (HXR) emission from flare accelerated electron beams subject to collisional transport and wave-particle interactions in the solar atmosphere.
Methods. We numerically follow the propagation of a power-law of accelerated electrons in 1D space and time with the response of the background plasma in the form of Langmuir waves using the quasilinear approximation.
Results. We find that the addition of wave-particle interactions to collisional transport for a transient initially injected electron beam flattens the spectrum of the footpoint source. The coronal source is unchanged and so the difference in the spectral indices between the coronal and footpoint sources is Δγ > 2, which is larger than expected from purely collisional transport. A steady-state beam shows little difference between the two cases, as has been previously found, as a transiently injected electron beam is required to produce significant wave growth, especially at higher velocities. With this transiently injected beam the wave-particle interactions dominate in the corona whereas the collisional losses dominate in the chromosphere. The shape of the spectrum is different with increasing electron beam density in the wave-particle interaction case whereas with purely collisional transport only the normalisation is changed. We also find that the starting height of the source electron beam above the photosphere affects the spectral index of the footpoint when Langmuir wave growth is included. This may account for the differing spectral indices found between double footpoints if asymmetrical injection has occurred in the flaring loop.
Key words: Sun: corona / Sun: flares / Sun: X-rays / gamma rays
© ESO, 2011