|Delivery Type||Delivery length / details|
|Lecture||22 hours Lectures and Seminars|
|Workload Breakdown||Every 10 credits carries a notional student workload of 100 hours; 22 hours Lectures, 78 hours independent study|
|Assessment Type||Assessment length / details||Proportion|
|Semester Exam||2 Hours||70%|
|Semester Assessment||2 assignment sheets||30%|
|Supplementary Exam||2 Hours||100%|
On successful completion of this module students should be able to:
1. State mathematically and derive expressions for basic plasma properties such as Debye length, plasma frequency, the gyrofrequency and gyroradius;
2. Derive expression for single charge particle motion in electric and magnetic fields and the drift motions when external forces are present ;
3. List and derive the main properties of MHD waves and the conditions for plasma instabilities such as Rayleigh-Taylor and Kelvin-Helmholtz instabilities;
4. Discuss the formation of shocks in a collisionless medium and derive shock jump conditions.
The course covers the essentials of plasma physics, including the nature of a plasma, motion of single charged particles in a magnetic field, magnetohydrodynamics, waves in plasma, and instabilities. The theory will be illustrated by examples from interplanetary space and the magnetospheres of planets.
- Occurrence of plasmas, temperature of a plasma, Debye shielding, plasma oscillations.
- Motion of a single charged particle in (a) a homogenous magnetic field; gyro-radius and frequency; (b) a converging magnetic field; magnetic mirror; (c) an inhomogenous magnetic field; drift motion (d) a magnetic field with a perpendicular electric field.
- Magnetohydrodynamics: Maxwell's equations applied to a plasma; diffusion time of magnetic field in a plasma; 'frozen-in' fields, magnetic Reynold's number.
- Waves in a plasma: electron plasma waves, ion-acoustic waves, MHD waves, shear Alfven waves, fast and slow magneto-sonic (compressional) waves.
- Waves in cold magnetized plasmas: Alfven waves, ion cyclotron waves, whistler waves, waves at very high frequencies.
- Collisionless shocks.
- Types of instability, two-stream instability (simple 'doppler-shift' treatment), Rayleigh-Taylor and Kelvin-Helmholtz instabilities.
|Skills Type||Skills details|
|Application of Number||Questions set in example sheets and formal examinations will include numerical problems|
|Communication||Written communication is developed via the assignments.|
|Improving own Learning and Performance||Assignments with feedback are used in order that students might reflect on their progress during the module.|
|Information Technology||Students will be required to research topics within the module via the internet.|
|Personal Development and Career planning||The module will highlight the latest developments in this field and hence will assist with career development.|
|Problem solving||Problem solving is a key skill in physics and will be tested via the assignment and formal examination at the end of the module.|
|Research skills||Some of the assignment sheet examples will require the student to research in the library and over the internet.|
Reading ListGeneral Text
Baumjohann, W. (1997 (various p) Basic space plasma physics /Wolfgang Baumjohann, Rudolf A. Treumann. Imperial College Press ; Primo search Chen, Francis F. (1984 (various p) Introduction to plasma physics and controlled fusion /Francis F. Chen. 2nd ed. Plenum Press Primo search
This module is at CQFW Level 6