Theory, experiments and calculations related the physics of plasmas, i.e., matter constituted by ionized atoms.

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Kittel solid state physics handbook - Plasma oscillation of a ball - Am I solving this right?

I'm self learning nanotechnology undergraduate and I'm trying to solve a problem from chapter "plasmons, polaritons and polarons". This is it: Frequency of uniform mode of plasmons in a ball is ...
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27 views

Why is there not much research into nuclear physics with plasmas?

There is a lot of research and theory around fusion reactions with plasma, but is there a reason why plasmas cannot be used for researching other nuclear reactions, either in the lab or from ...
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57 views

What does a sample of the Sun look like? Does it look like fire or gas?

Suppose that in the future a highly resistant spacecraft went to the Sun and collected three samples of the Sun: one from its surface, one from its core, and one midway. The three samples were put ...
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45 views

Radio wave propagation in ionosphere

Radio communication is based on the concept that a radio signal incident on the ionosphere is reflected if the frequency of the wave matches the plasma frequency. But what exactly happens? Is it ...
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102 views

Dielectric Tensor vs. Conductivity Tensor in (Cold) Plasmas

I'm studying Waves in Cold plasmas right now, but I guess my question is generalizable. It's about the 4th Maxwell Equation in polarizable / conductive media: $\nabla \times H = \frac{1}{c} ...
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Can Gases conduct Electricity?

Liquid electrolytes ionize and hence a current can pass through them. So if a gas can ionize, can it conduct electricity too? If so, what are a few such gases?
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spectrum of discharge of air

Where do the various colors in electrical discharge of air with a high voltage originate from? Are these transitions in ionized nitrogen gas or unionized gas? Are chemical reactions involved? I assume ...
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64 views

Why is quasineutrality required for a gas to turn into a plasma?

Why is quasineutrality a required condition for a plasma to exist? Quasineutrality means that no density of electrons and ions should almost be equal but not exactly equal. Can anybody explain this ...
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179 views

Why do many books say quasineutrality is needed for a plasma to exist?

Many books on plasma physics (Chen, Goldston, Lieberman) say that quasineutrality must be satisfied for the matter in question to be a plasma. Yet, we know that non-neutral plasmas exist. So why do so ...
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Magnetic fields in plasma at equilibrium

I'm wondering if it is possible to have a plasma reach an equilibrium state where no more entropy is produced but it still has frozen-in magnetic field lines. The problem is the field lines have a ...
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Why does only one side of a neon lamp glow?

When applying DC to a neon lamp, only the negatively-charged electrode glows: The voltages across the lamps are left: DC (left lead positive), middle: DC (right lead positive), and right: AC. ...
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Absorption of waves in a plasma

Suppose a plasma has characteristic frequency $\omega_p$. Since $$n = \sqrt{\left(1-\frac{\omega_p^2}{\omega^2}\right)} $$ For $\omega<\omega_p$, the refractive index will be imaginary - which ...
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Calculate the potential induced by beam

This exercise is from Plasma Physics and Fusion Energy by Freidberg. A cylindrical conducting vacuum chamber of radius $r=a$ is filled with a uniform plasma of density $n_0$ and temperature ...
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polarization of a transverse wave travelling in ionosphere with polarization direction perpendicular to earths magnetic field

Assume a transverse electromagnetic wave entering ionosphere such that its Electric field of wave is perpendicular to earths magnetic field. Now, i read that as it will enter plasma, the wave will ...
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76 views

What materials are used in non thermal plasma?

While reading about non-thermal plasmas, I came across their ionization potentials(~1%), and other capabilities, such as their non Maxwellian energy distributions. At what temperatures, and pressures ...
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2k views

Why is lightning considered a plasma?

I was wondering why a lightning bolt is coined as "plasma", or a "spark" from an electrical wire/device is as well, yet flares, molten lava, and burning buildings are not(flares are pyrotechnic, ...
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237 views

Child-Langmuir Space Charge Law for Non-Zero Cathode Potential (Non-Zero Initial Electron Velocity)

I'm trying to reconcile some conflicting results that I've found in publications that address the idea of the current in a vacuum diode in the case where the cathode has a non-zero potential, in other ...
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Boltzmann factor predicts arbitrarily large numbers of electrons at high potential?

In deriving the Debye shielding length we are told that the Boltzmann factor for particles of charge $q$ is: $n_{q}=n_{0}\exp(-q\phi/kT)$ If we assume the potential $\phi$ is positive, then the ...
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Fusion reactors why does size matter?

I've been following articles about fusion recently, and with the ITER project mostly. I have noticed that their view point is they need to build a large scale reactor in order to achieve their goals. ...
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Why were space physicists wrong about the location of the heliopause?

The heliopause is now estimated to be something around 100 AU (1 AU = Astronomical unit = about the earth sun distance). See the wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heliosphere From ...
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124 views

plasma frequency in non-neutral plasma

Is it possible to see the oscillations with plasma frequency in a gas of particles of the same charge (not mixture of positive and negative charges)?
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why ions and electrons are at different temperatures in plasma?

In plasma, collision rate among ions or electrons is much larger than the collision rate between ions and electrons. why is that so?
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Jupiter radiation belt: where >MeV particles comes from?

When I read some discussion about exploration of Jupiter moons, or possibility of life there, a common argument is high dose of radiation in Jupiter's radiation belt (several orders of magnitude ...
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Fusion plasma compression with liquid metal

General Fusion plans to use an imploding shockwave of molten lead to compress a magnetized plasma "spheromak" target in order to make it burn more efficiently. How come the lead does not quench the ...
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396 views

Difference between irreversible and entropy?

Cedric Villani recently wrote an article on Landau damping, where at least one topic discussed confused me. Besides discussing the issue of how a process can be microscopically reversible and ...
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273 views

Tokamaks and the reason they are still not efficient

I'm curious about why tokamaks are inefficient as generators. In laymans terms, what is the main reason(s) tokamaks still cannot be used as generators? My limited understanding of tokamaks tells me ...
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What happens when a slow wave reaches lower hybrid resonance?

Lower hybrid resonance occurs when $n_{\perp}^2$ goes to infinity, and it occurs only for the slow wave solution, not the fast wave. Since $n_{\perp}$ is proportional to $k_{\perp}$, and $k = \frac{2 ...
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Where on Earth can you find plasma?

Ok, so not that 'where on earth', like literally - 'Where on Earth'. Where on Earth, can you find matter in the 4th state, i.e. the plasma state?
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Relationship between plasma physics and quark gluon plasma

To what extent do the ideas common in modern plasma physics, such as magnetohydrodynamics, cold plasma models, common types of plasma waves, Maxwell's Equations, etc, relate to the study of quark ...
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Why do we deal only with large scale magnetic fields in astrophysics, and not electric fields?

In astrophysics there is a lot going on about strong, large scale magnetic fields: in stars (prominences), magnetic dynamos, compact accretors collimating jets, etc. There's even a special ...
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Particle acceleration at magnetized shocks by convective electric fields?

Let us assume we have a flow of charged particles in a quasi-neutral state (i.e., a plasma) convecting at some speed, $\mathbf{V}_{sw}$ = V$_{sw}$ $\hat{x}$, and the particles have species-dependent ...
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Is a plasma necessarily made of monoatomic ions?

Is it possible to have a plasma made of polyatomic ions instead of monoatomic ions? I want to know all the details why such a thing may be attainable or not and, if possible, what methods we can use ...
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236 views

Formula for Electrical Arc Length

I was playing with some High-Voltage the other day, when a question popped into my head. Can you calculate length of an electrical arc? It probably would be proportional to :- 1. Voltage of the source ...
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Aftermath of Plasma Arc

You have a chamber with constant amount of gas (say either helium or argon). You create the plasma with an arc and turn it off. How much of the gas used to create the plasma returns back to helium or ...
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Physical reason for magnetic mirroring?

I understand the mathematical derivation of magnetic mirroring, which usually starts from the conservation of the magnetic dipole moment (e.g. in a plasma). But physically: a mirrored particle is ...
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Why does the majority of smoke leave when flames appear?

When I burn wood, paper, or other plant matter, where there is a flame, there generally isn't too much smoke, but it I blow the fire out, smoke starts billowing up. It billows thicker and thicker as ...
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192 views

Would it be possible to have an electron-less solid?

We can create plasmas quite easily, indeed you can buy a plasma cutter and generate it all day long for less than $500. Would it be possible to trap a plasma, say magnetically, and cool it so much ...
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Is the plasma state always visible?

All the examples of plasma I have come across are visible. Is there any plasma which is not visible? For example, during a dark lightening we don't see the radiation because its gamma radiation. Is ...
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Are Mach Diamonds radially symmetrical?

Videos like this show a form that suggests a radial symmetry in the gas jet. The same is reinforced by schematic illustrations. But other images, like this, look like there is a twisting structure ...
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381 views

Conserved quantities and total derivatives?

I am having a bit of a crisis in understanding of the physical meanings of total derivatives. When a quantity $\rho$ (be it a vector or a scalar) is said to be conserved, then (mathematically) ...
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475 views

Is it true that gravitational lensing only occurs for objects made of plasma?

The question concerns this video: It says that the Gravitational Lens effect is an illusion, meaning it's not caused by gravity but by change in density of a plasma atmosphere. It claims further ...
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593 views

Is a plasma a distinct phase of matter?

Long ago I learned that a plasma was a distinct state of matter after solid, liquid and gas, and also that it was achieved by imparting heat to a the matter. But most references describe a plasma as ...
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75 views

How a plasma reacts with an AC electromagnet

Any metal conductor such as aluminium or copper is a conductor because of the free electrons in such metals. Plasma also has free electrons so I would like to know if you can repel plasma the same ...
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Plasma Question: Expression for electron temperature in terms of the voltage of each prong of a triple Langmuir probe?

So I am trying to derive an expression for electron temperature based on the voltages on a triple Langmuir probe. I have pretty much been following the triple Langmuir probe derivation on wikipedia ...
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61 views

How do I modify a 3-D simulation grid to be 2-D?

I am creating a particle in cell simulation that models an electron plasma in a cylindrical container. Part of this process is assigning charge density to grid points based on the position of each ...
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Transverse Magnetic (TM) and Transverse Electric (TE) modes

I'm reading and working my way through "Plasmonics Fundamentals" by Stefan Maier and I've come across a step in the workings that I'm struggling to understand when working out the electromagnetic ...
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Poynting Vector between Capacitor - With electrons in between!

Consider a capacitor with voltage $V = V_0 cos(\omega t)$, radius $a$ and separation $d$. Electrons are distributed uniformly with number density $n$. I want to find the poynting vector between the ...
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178 views

What's the relationship between glow and arc discharge?

I'm trying to understand the differences between an arc and glow discharge. Most texts I have found on the Internet only describes the observed differences but doesn't really explain what happens on ...
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plasma pressure initial condition

The authors in the paper below did a simulation of plasma plume evolution from a laser heated metal target. They used compressible transport equations and ideal gas EOS for Ar. I am having difficulty ...
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630 views

What is electron density and its unit in plasma physics?

I can not find (through Google search engine) that what means electron density and what is its unit? and what is there relation between electron density and electrical conductivity?