Transition radiation in media with random inhomogeneities
K.Yu. Platonov a
G.D. Fleishman b, c
a Research Institute for Laser Physics, Birzhevaya liniya 12, St. Petersburg, 199034, Russian Federation
b Ioffe Institute, ul. Polytekhnicheskaya 26, St. Petersburg, 194021, Russian Federation
c New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, New Jersey, USA
This review analyzes radiation produced by randomly inhomogeneous media excited by fast particles — i.e., polarization bremsstrahlung for thermodynamically equilibrium inhomogeneities or transition radiation for nonthermal ones — taking into account all the effects important for natural sources. Magnetic field effects on both the motion of fast particles and the dispersion of background plasma are considered, and the multiple scattering of fast particles in the medium is examined. Various resonant effects occurring under the conditions of Cherenkov (or cyclotron) emission for a particular eigenmode are discussed. The transition radiation intensity and absorption (amplification) coefficients are calculated for ensembles of fast particles with realistic distributions over momentum and angles. The value of the developed theory of transition radiation is illustrated by applying it to astrophysical objects. Transition radiation is shown to contribute significantly to the radio emission of the Sun, planets (including Earth), and interplanetary and interstellar media. Possible further applications of transition radiation (particularly stimulated) are discussed.