F5170 Introduction to Plasma Physics

Faculty of Science
autumn 2021
Extent and Intensity
2/1/0. 2 credit(s) (plus extra credits for completion). Type of Completion: zk (examination).
Taught partially online.
Mgr. Zdeněk Bonaventura, Ph.D. (lecturer)
Pedro Arsénio Nunes Aleixo Viegas, PhD. (seminar tutor)
Mgr. Ján Tungli (seminar tutor)
Guaranteed by
Mgr. Zdeněk Bonaventura, Ph.D.
Department of Physical Electronics - Physics Section - Faculty of Science
Contact Person: Mgr. Zdeněk Bonaventura, Ph.D.
Supplier department: Department of Physical Electronics - Physics Section - Faculty of Science
( F2050 Electricity and magnetism || F2070 Electricity and magnetism ) && ( F4100 Introduction to Microphysics || F4050 Introduction to Microphysics )
F2050 Elektřina a magnetismus nebo F2070 Elektřina a magnetismus pro učitele, (1. ročník jaro) a
F4120 Teoretická mechanika, (2. ročník podzim) a
F4100 Úvod do fyziky mikrosvěta nebo F4050 Úvod do fyziky mikrosvěta pro učitele, (2. ročník jaro) a
F4090 Elektrodynamika a teorie relativity, (2. ročník jaro)
Course Enrolment Limitations
The course is also offered to the students of the fields other than those the course is directly associated with.
fields of study / plans the course is directly associated with
Course objectives
This course is intended as a general introduction to plasma physics designed for students meeting this subject for the first time. The students finishing the course acquire fundamentals of plasma physics based on statistical kinetic theory and magnetohydrodynamic equations.
At the end of the course students should be able to: define correctly the plasma; define the distribution function; employ the distribution function for determination of macroscopic variables; recall the Boltzmann kinetic equation also for existence of particle collisions; compose macroscopic transport equations and explain the physical meaning of particular terms; apply transport equations, under simplified assumptions, for understanding plasma collective behavior, e.g. plasma conductivity and dielectric response, diffusion and plasma oscillations.
Learning outcomes
Student will be able to:
- analyze behavior of charged particles in electric and magnetic fields, including of drifts of a guiding center;
- understand the description of particle ansamble via distribution function;
- formulate the Boltzmann equations and explain individual terms in the equation;
- express macroscopic plasma parameters based on integrals of the distribution function;
- formulate momentum equations (conservation laws) for fluid description of plasma;
- analyze the plasma-wall interaction;
- explain phenomena related to diffusion and conductivity in plasma.
  • The course is structured into 11 topics:
  • 1. Introduction (criteria for the definition of a plasma, brief summary of methods for plasma production and plasma applications)
  • 2. Charged particle motion in electromagnetic fields (uniform static fields, nonuniform magnetostatic fields, slowly time-varying electric field)
  • 3. Elements of plasma kinetic theory (phase space, distribution function and its physical interpretation, the Boltzmann kinetic equation - BKR, Relaxation model for the collision term)
  • 4. Average values and macroscopic variables (average value of a physical quantity, drift and thermal velocity, flux, particle current density, momentum flow tensor, pressure tensor, heat flow vector, heat flow triad, total energy flux triad, higher moments of the distribution function)
  • 5. The equilibrium state (the equilibrium state distribution function, properties of the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution function, solution of BKR for equilibrium in the presence of an external force, the Saha equation)
  • 6. Particle interactions in plasma (collision processes, kinetics and dynamics of elastic binary collisions, scattering angle, differential and total cross section, momentum transfer cross section, cross sections for the Coulomb interaction potential in case of Debye shielding, mean free path, rate constant)
  • 7. Macroscopic transport equations for one type of particles (moments of the Boltzmann equation, general transport equation, continuity equation, equation of motion, energy transport equation, model of cold and warm plasma)
  • 8. Macroscopic equations for a conducting fluid (macroscopic variables for a plasma as a conducting fluid, continuity equation, equation of motion, energy transport equation, electrodynamic equations for a conducting fluid, generalized Ohm’s law)
  • 9. Plasma conductivity and diffusion (Langevin equation and its linearization, DC conductivity and electron mobility in case of isotropic and anisotropic magnetoplasma, AC conductivity and electron mibility, plasma as a dielectric medium, free electron diffusion, electron diffusion in a magnetic field, ambipolar diffusion)
  • 10. Some basic plasma phenomena (electron plasma oscillations, the Debye shielding problem, plasma sheath)
  • 11. Boltzmann a Fokker-Planck collision integrals (derivation of Boltzmann collision integral, Boltzmann collision integral for a weakly ionized plasma, derivation of Fokker-Planck collision integral)
  • BITTENCOURT, Jose Augusto. Fundamentals of plasma physics. 3rd ed. New York, N.Y.: Springer, 2004. xxiii, 678. ISBN 0387209751. info
Teaching methods
The course is composed of lectures explaining the theory of all the topics and class exercises at which the students actively participate in the solution of problems that are published in advance.
The beginning of the class exercises are devoted to short written tests (10 min) probing the knowledge of basic terms. These tests will be replaced by on-line Questionnaires (ROPOTs) on http://is/muni/cz for the students of combined studies that cannot participate in the regular class exercises.
Besides, the students prepare the solution of some homeworks and submit them in the form of a written report.
Assessment methods
The course can be concluded by examination or colloquium. Requirements for entering the examination/colloquium are following:
minimum 50% of points from short written tests (or successful finishing of all the ROPOTs for the students of combined studies)
submission and acceptance of all reports on homeworks. The exam starts with the written questionnaire testing student's basic knowledge on the subject and written exam testing the ability to solve theoretical tasks, similar to those solved during semester in class exercises. After passing the written test the students discuss with the teacher two topics of the course in more details (oral part of the exam). In case of the colloquium the written test based on the solution of theoretical tasks is excluded. Therefore, I suggest to conclude the course by the colloquium to those students that do not have good background in mathematics and physics (typically the students with the background in chemistry). The students oblique to pass the course conclude it always with the exam!
Language of instruction
Follow-Up Courses
Further comments (probably available only in Czech)
Information on completion of the course: V oborech, ve kterych je předmět povinný, je nutné ukončit zkouškou. V jiných oborech lze ukončit i kolokviem.
The course can also be completed outside the examination period.
The course is taught annually.
The course is taught: every week.
The course is also listed under the following terms Autumn 2007 - for the purpose of the accreditation, Autumn 1999, Autumn 2010 - only for the accreditation, Autumn 2000, Autumn 2001, Autumn 2002, Autumn 2003, Autumn 2004, Autumn 2005, Autumn 2006, Autumn 2007, Autumn 2008, Autumn 2009, Autumn 2010, Autumn 2011, Autumn 2011 - acreditation, spring 2012 - acreditation, Autumn 2012, Autumn 2013, Autumn 2014, Autumn 2015, Autumn 2016, autumn 2017, Autumn 2018, Autumn 2019, Autumn 2020.
  • Enrolment Statistics (recent)
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