Plasma Physics: An Introduction

Publication Details

Author:            Richard Fitzpatrick
Publisher: CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group
Publication Date: 5th August, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-4665-9426-5


This work is based on a series of university course lectures by a leading name in the field, and thoroughly covers the physics of the fourth state of matter. The book looks at non-relativistic, fully ionized, non-degenerate, quasi-neutral, and weakly coupled plasma. Intended for the student market, the text provides a concise and cohesive introduction to plasma physics theory, and offers a solid foundation for students wishing to take higher level courses in plasma physics.

This work contains over 80 exercises - carefully selected for their pedagogical value - with fully worked out solutions available in a separate solutions manual for professors. The author provides an in-depth dicussion of the various fluid theories typically used in plasma physics. The material presents a number of applications, and works through specific topics including basic plasma parameters, the theory of charged particle motion in inhomogeneous electromagnetic fields, plasma fluid theory, electromagnetic waves in cold plasmas, electromagnetic wave propagation through inhomogeneous plasmas, magnetohydrodynamical fluid theory, and kinetic theory.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction. What is Plasma?; Brief History of Plasma Physics; Fundamental Parameters; Debye Shielding; Collisions; Magnetized Plqsmas; Plasma Beta; De Broglie Wavelength; Exercises.

2. Charged Particle Motion.. Introduction; Motion in Uniform Fields; Method of Averaging; Guiding Center Motion; Magnetic Drifts; Invariance of Magnetic Moment; Poincare Invariants; Adiabatic Invariants; Magnetic Mirrors; Van Allen Radiation Belts; Equatorial Ring Current; Second Adiabatic Invariant; Third Adiabatic Invariant; Motion in Oscillating Fields; Exercises.

3. Collisions. Introduction; Collision Operator; Two-Body Elastic Collisions; Boltzmann Collision Operator; Collisional Conservqtion Laws; Boltzmann H-Theorem; Two-Body Coulomb Collisions; Rutherford Scattering Cross-Section; Landau Collision Operator; Coulomb Logarithm; Rosenbluth Potentials; Collision Times; Exercises.

4. Plasma Fluid Theory. Introduction; Moments of Distribution Functions; Moments of Collision Operator; Moments of Kinetic Equation; Fluid Equations; Entropy Production; Fluid Closure; Chapman-Enskog Closure; Normalization of Neutral Gas Equations; Braginskii Equations; Normalization of Braginskii Equations; Cold-Plasma Equations; MHD Equations; Drift Equations; Closure in Collisionless Magnetized Plasmas; Langmuir Sheaths; Exercises.

5. Waves in Cold Plasmas. Introduction; Plane Waves in Homogeneous Plasmas; Cold-Plasma Dielectric Permittivity; Cold-Plasma Dispersion Relation; Wave Polarization; Cutoff and Resonance; Waves in Unmagnetized Plasmas; Low-Frequency Wave Propagation; Parallel Wave Propagation; Perpendicular Wave Propagation; Exercises.

6. Wave Propagation Through Inhomogeneous Plasmas. Introduction; WKB Solutions; Cutoffs; Resonances; Resonant Layers; Collisional Damping; Pulse Propagation; Ray Tracing; Ionospheric Radio Wave Propagation; Exercises.

7. Magnetohydrodynamic Fluids. Introduction; Magnetic Pressure; Flux Freezing; MHD Waves; Solar Wind; Parker Model of Solar Wind; Interplanetary Magnetic Field; Mass and Angular Momentum Loss; MHD Dynamo Theory; Homopolar Disk Dynamo; Slow and Fast Dynamos; Cowling Anti-Dynamo Theorem; Ponomarenko Dynamo; Magnetic Reconnection; Linear Tearing Mode Theory; Nonlinear Tearing Mode Theory; Fast Magnetic Reconnection; MHD Shocks; Parallel MHD Shocks; Perpendicular MHD Shocks; Oblique MHD Shocks; Exercises.

8. Waves in Warm Plasmas. Introduction; Landau Damping; Physics of Landau Damping; Plasma Dispersion Function; Ion Acoustic Waves; Waves in Magnetized Plasmas; Parallel Wave Propagation; Perpendicular Wave Propagation; Electrostatic Waves; Velocity-Space Instabilities; Counter-Propagating Beam Instability; Current-Driven Ion Acoustic Instability; Harris Instability; Exercises.


Purchase Details

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Richard Fitzpatrick