## PHY 331: Plasma Physics

3 credits | Prerequisites: PHY 225, PHY 202, PHY 221, PHY 223

### Course rationale

A plasma is a quasi-neutral ionized gas that exhibits collective behavior. The plasma state is often described as the fourth state of matter. Our objective is to study this plasma systematically to learn how electromagnetic fields and charged particles behave, with an emphasis on understanding the various electrodynamics phenomena observed in space. No prior knowledge of plasmas will be assumed, but mathematical tools and basic physical concepts learned as an undergraduate will be assumed.

### Course content

Introduction: Plasmas and their characterization, Basic plasma concepts: Debye shielding, plasma frequency, plasma parameter, Motion of charged particles in fields: Charged particle motion in EM fields, Collisions in plasmas: Coulomb collisions: Cross-section and frequencies, Characteristic relaxation times, Fluid description of plasma: Plasma fluid descriptions, two-fluid model, MHD model, MHD equilibrium, MHD dynamics: Alfven waves, MHD dynamics: Stability, Electromagnetic waves in plasmas: Plasma waves, Kinetic Theory: Plasma kinetic description, Relation of kinetic to the fluid description.

### Course objectives

- This course introduces plasma physics and its application at the beginning graduate level.
- Introduces plasma phenomena relevant to energy generation and to astrophysics.
- Motion of charged particles in electric & magnetic fields, plasma confinement schemes, simple equilibrium, and stability analysis.
- Two-fluid hydrodynamic plasma models, and wave propagation in a magnetic field.
- Kinetic theory, the Vlasov plasma model, the relation between kinetic and fluid models, electron plasma waves, and Landau damping

### References

- Hazeltine, R. D., and F. L. Waelbroeck.The Framework of Plasma Physics. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 1998. ISBN: 9780738200477.
- Goldston, R. J., and P. H. Rutherford. Introduction to Plasma Physics. New York NY: Taylor & Francis Inc., 1995. ISBN: 9780750301831.
- Stix, T. H.Waves in Plasmas. American Institute of Physics, 1992. ISBN: 9780883188590.