Basic Plasma Physics '12

Antonius Otto

Physics F472:

MW 3:30pm-4:30pm
REIC 203
F 10:30am-11:30am
REIC 203

22/02/2012 - 03/30/2012

Scope and Contents of the Course:

Plasma physics is a young and expanding field of Physics with increasing importance for technical applications. Most of the visible matter of the universe is in the plasma state. Therefore plasma physics is the basis for the processes in space and astrophysical systems. The unique property of plasma physics is the collective behavior of charged particles which requires a solutions of particle dynamics and the electromagnetic field. The collective interaction of particles with electromagnetic fields is intrinsically nonlinear and is one of the most interesting and challenging areas of modern physics.

This plasma physics course will provide a introduction to some basic concepts of plasma physics such as single particle dynamics and fluid plasmas. These basic concepts will be used to illustrate various research applilications.

Conduct of the Course:

Grading Policy:

The course will be based on the manuscript of the instructor. Supplementary material is taken from the texts by Nicholson, Introduction to Plasma Physics (Krieger Publ., '92), and by Baumjohann and Treumann, Basic Space Plasma Physics (World Scientific Pub Co, '96). Additional original literature will be provided as necessary.

It is planned to incorporate some aspects of numerical simulation of plasma physics into the course. This serves to illustrates certain properties of plasmas and is particularly suited for nonlinear processes where analytical theory is limited.

Grading will be based on homework and an exam at the end of the course which will consist mainly of analytic problems.

Homework: 65%

Final exam: 35%


Nicholson, Introduction to Plasma Physics (Krieger Publ., '92): An excellent introductory text with complete coverage of basic plasma physics. Unfortunately this text is out of print but it is available in the Mather Library.

Baumjohann and Treumann, Basic Space Plasma Physics, Imperial College Press (1997): A good introduction to many aspects of space plasma physics. The combination with the more advanced volume Advanced Space Plasma Physics by Treumann and Baumjohann provides a very thorough graduate level course in space plasma physics.

Krall and Trivelpiece, Principles of Plasma Physics, San Francisco Press (1986): Very detailed text on plasma physics with excellent general coverage of traditional plasma physics. Out of print but available in the Mather library.

Plasma Physics - List of Contents


Basic Elements of the Physics of Charged Particles

Single Particle Motion


Research Results


Homework and Exams 2012

Homework 1
Homework 2
Homework 3


Solution 1
Solution 2
Solution 3


Antonius Otto 2006-11-08