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Plasma Theory I & II: Course Outline for Plasma Theory I (MAT 667)

Plasma is a distinct phase of matter, separate from the traditional solids, liquids, and gases. It is a collection of charged particles that respond strongly and collectively to electromagnetic fields, taking the form of gas-like clouds or ion beams.

Course Contents

Review-1: Coulomb’s law, Electric field,  Gauss’s law with applications, electric potential of a localized charge distribution, Poisson’s and Laplace’s equation. fields at long and short distances. Lorentz force, magnetic induction, Biot-Savart law. Electromotive force and motional emf, Faraday’s law, induced electric field, energy stored in electric and magnetic fields. Maxwell’s equations.

Review-2: Occurrence of plasma in nature, Definition of plasma, Plasma parameter, Motion of single particle motion with Uniform E and B field, with nonuniform B field and E field. Plasma as fluid.

Wave propagation in plasma; derivation of dispersion relations for simple electrostatic and electromagnetic modes. Equilibrium and stability (with fluid model); Hydromagnetic equilibrium/diffusion of magnetic field into a plasma; classification of instabilities; two-stream instability; the gravitational instability; resistive drift waves. Atomospheric source of magnetospheric plasma and its temperature, plasma from Jupiter.

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