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Baumann, Carsten; Rapp, Markus; Kero, Antti (2016): Secondary electron emission from meteoric smoke particles inside the polar ionosphere. In: Annales Geophysicae, Vol. 34, No. 6: pp. 573-580


The charging by secondary electron emission (SEE) from particles is known as a significant charging process in astrophysical plasmas. This work aims at evaluating the significance of SEE for charging of meteoric smoke particles (MSPs) in the Earth's polar atmosphere. Here, the atmosphere is subject to a bombardment of energetic electrons from the magnetosphere (and partly the sun). We employ the SEE formalism to MSPs in the upper mesosphere using electron precipitation fluxes for three different precipitation strengths. In addition, we address the possible effect of tertiary electron emission (TEE) from MSPs induced by atmospheric secondary electrons for one precipitation case. The SEE and TEE rates from MSPs of different sizes are compared to plasma attachment and photodetachment and photoionization rates of MSPs. The needed concentration of electrons and ions have been modeled with the Sodankyla Ion and Neutral Chemistry (SIC) model with included electron precipitation spectra as an additional ionization source. We find that secondary electron emission from MSPs is not a relevant charging mechanism for MSPs. The electron attachment to MSPs and photodetachment of negatively charged MSPs are the most important processes also during energetic electron precipitation.