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Kinetic Modeling of Radiation Belt Electrons with GEANT4 to Study Energetic Particle Precipitation in Earth's Atmosphere
  • Grant Berland,
  • Robert Andrew Marshall,
  • Luisa Capannolo
Grant Berland
University of Colorado Boulder

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Robert Andrew Marshall
University of Colorado Boulder
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Luisa Capannolo
Boston University
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We present a new model designed to simulate the process of energetic particle precipitation, a vital coupling mechanism from Earth’s magnetosphere to its atmosphere. The atmospheric response, namely excess ionization in the upper and middle atmosphere, together with bremsstrahlung X-ray production, is calculated with kinetic particle simulations using the GEANT4 Monte Carlo framework. Mono-energy and mono-pitch angle electron beams are simulated and combined using a Green’s function approach to represent realistic electron spectra and pitch angle distributions. Results from this model include more accurate ionization profiles than previous analytical models, deeper photon penetration into the atmosphere than previous Monte Carlo model predictions, and predictions of backscatter fractions of loss cone electrons up to 40%. The model results are verified by comparison with previous precipitation modeling results, and validated using balloon X-ray measurements from the BARREL mission and backscattered electron energy and pitch angle measurements from the ELFIN CubeSat mission. The model results and solution techniques are developed into a Python package for public use.
19 Apr 2023Submitted to ESS Open Archive
30 Apr 2023Published in ESS Open Archive