We present self-consistent Particle-in-Cell simulations of the resonant interactions between anisotropic energetic electrons and a population of whistler waves, with parameters relevant to the Earth's radiation belt. By tracking PIC particles, and comparing with test-particles simulations we emphasize the importance of including nonlinear effects and time evolution in the modeling of wave-particle interactions, which are excluded in the resonant limit of quasi-linear theory routinely used in radiation belt studies. In particular we show that pitch angle diffusion is enhanced during the linear growth phase, and it rapidly saturates. We discuss how the saturation is related to the fact that the domain in which the particles' pitch angle diffuse is bounded, and to the well-known problem of 90∘ diffusion barrier.
Physics of Plasmas
Multiscale Dynamics

Camporeale, E., & Zimbardo, G. (2015). Wave-particle interactions with parallel whistler waves: nonlinear and time-dependent effects revealed by Particle-in-Cell simulations. Physics of Plasmas, 22. doi:10.1063/1.4929853