Electrons, as well as other ions, have long been viewed as the building blocks of the ionosphere.
The ionosphere is made up of a complex collection of charged particles called ions.
Its electric charge is a consequence of the interaction of electrons with the outer layers of the earth’s atmosphere.
This electric charge helps ionospheric ions to travel up and around the Earth’s surface.
In the past, ionospheres have been thought of as little more than a collection of tiny particles called electron orbits.
However, new research suggests that ions are actually very important to the electrical conductivity of the Earths surface.
The findings appear in the journal Nature Geoscience.
While electrons are the building block of an ionosphere, their electric charge also has a fundamental role in its conductivity.
“Electrons act as a medium for the release of electrons,” explains senior author Christopher Lips, an associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of Wisconsin.
An electron can be released from a magnet, or a magnetic field, or the electrical charges of an atom, for example.
Lips and his team created a model of how ions behave in the ionosphere.
When the researchers measured the electric field on a piece of paper, they found that electrons were released from the magnet.
If the electric fields of a magnet are the same as the magnetic fields of the atmosphere, they’re going to have the same electric field.
What they found was that when the electric currents were strong enough, ions can actually “jump” from one layer of the magnet to another.
These ions are also known as ionospherically charged particles (ISPs).
“In the ionization zone of the outer atmosphere, the ions are trapped between two electric fields, which then combine to produce a strong electric field,” explains Lips.
Electrons in the ions can also jump to the surface, but they’re very small.
Even so, this ionization occurs when the ions interact with the magnetic field of the surrounding Earths atmosphere.
“The ionospheroid is a huge space.
It is about the size of our planet,” says Lips.”
It is like a huge ocean.
Because of the size, the ionizes at a rate that is about 1,000 times faster than the flow of water.”
Lip explains that the ions in the ISPs have an extremely low energy, which means that they have very low charge.
That means that when ions jump to one layer, they have the ability to jump to another layer.
They can then jump to a second layer, or even to the ground.
“The energy released from these jumps is called the kinetic energy, or kinetic energy per unit area,” says Lips.
“Electron jumps are the energy released when an ion jumps from one electrode to another.”
Electron jump is the most common cause of ionosphene on Earth.
Since ISPs are the only ions that can jump to surfaces, they are considered “high-energy ions” and therefore “high priority” for improving the ion conductivity in the outer space.
Lips and colleagues have already created a more complex model of ion jump in order to determine how the ion jump is different from that of ions in an ISP.
For the model, they used the electric charge of ionosphere particles to estimate the kinetic energies of ISPs.
Atmospheric ions have about the same kinetic energy as those in the surface of Earth, but the ion jumps are much more energetic.
To see how the electric current of a small magnet affects the kinetic effects of ion jumps, Lips created a device called a electron trap.
Using this device, he created an ion trap for an ISPs, and measured how the electrons are released.
He found that when a small electron jumps from an ISPA to another, it has an energy that is equivalent to the kinetic force of the ISPA.
Here’s how the researchers calculated that: “For the kinetic charge of the ions, the energy is equivalent in terms of kinetic energy of the jumping electron.
This is why ions jump so much.
The kinetic energy is the amount of energy released by the jumping electrons when the ion leaps,” explains Lipp.
So, is ion jump actually important to our atmosphere?
The scientists don’t know for sure, but if it does, then ion jump would be a very interesting new experiment.
And, if we’re going all the way back to the earliest days of space exploration, it would make a pretty great sounding board for exploring the physics of our outer space environment.
You can read more about ion jump and other science in Nature Geo: https://www.nature