|Module Title||PLASMA AND SPACE PHYSICS|
|Co-ordinator||Dr Eleri Pryse|
|Other staff||Dr Andrew Breen, Professor Leonard Kersley|
|Pre-Requisite||Successful Completion of Year 3 of the MPhys Scheme|
|Course delivery||Lecture||20 lectures|
|Assessment||Exam||End of Semester Examinations||100%|
The core of the course will cover 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 magnetosphere.
After taking this module students should be able to:
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-mode (compressional) waves.
Types of instability, two-stream instability (simple "doppler-shift" treatment), Rayleigh-Taylor and Kelvin-Helmholtz instabilities (qualitative treatment).
** Reference Text
Francis F Chen. Introduction to Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion.
Kivelson M G and Russell C T. Introduction to Space Physics.