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The Astrophysical Journal


The focused transport theory is appropriate to describe the injection and acceleration of low-energy particles at shocks as an extension of diffusive shock acceleration (DSA). In this investigation, we aim to characterize the role of cross-shock potential (CSP) originated in the charge separation across the shock ramp on pickup ion (PUI) acceleration at various types of shocks with a focused transport model. The simulation results of energy spectrum and spatial density distribution for the cases with and without CSP added in the model are compared.With sufficient acceleration time, the focused transport acceleration finally falls into the DSA regime with the power-law spectral index equal to the solution of the DSA theory. The CSP can affect the shape of the spectrum segment at lower energies, but it does not change the spectral index of the final power-law spectrum at high energies. It is found that the CSP controls the injection efficiency which is the fraction of PUIs reaching the DSA regime. A stronger CSP jump results in a dramatically improved injection efficiency. Our simulation results also show that the injection efficiency of PUIs is mass-dependent, which is lower for species with a higher mass. In addition, the CSP is able to enhance the particle reflection upstream to produce a stronger intensity spike at the shock front. We conclude that the CSP is a non-negligible factor that affects the dynamics of PUIs at shocks.



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