Course Number
Primary Program
Applied Physics
Course Format

This course is an introduction to the physical processes that govern the “fourth state of matter”, also known as plasma. Plasma physics is the study of ionized gas, which is the state of the matter for 99.9% of the apparent universe, from astrophysical plasmas, to the solar wind and Earth’s radiation belts and ionosphere. Plasma phenomena are also relevant to energy generation by controlled thermonuclear fusion. The challenge of plasma physics comes from the fact that many plasma properties result from the long-range Coulomb interaction, and therefore are collective properties that involve many particles simultaneously. Topics to be covered during class include motion of charged particles in electric and magnetic fields, dynamics of fully ionized plasma from both microscopic and macroscopic points of view, magneto-hydrodynamics, equilibria, waves, instabilities, applications to fusion devices, ionospheric, and space physics. .

Course Prerequisite(s)

EN.615.642 Electromagnetics or the equivalent