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Plasma Physics and Applications

This set of lectures is devoted to an introduction to plasma physics and its applications: in particular, thermonuclear fusion (ITER), space plasmas and plasma discharges, reactors and thrusters.

Syllabus : " Plasma Physics and Applications "

- Lectures 30 hours, Tutorials 20 hours (1st Semester) -

(Sébastien Galtier, Tiberiu Minea, Jean-Marcel Rax)

[Common module with the M1 french track of Physics and Applications at Paris-sud university]

Chapter 1:
Basic plasma physics
Characteristic length, velocity and time scales
Collective effects: electric and magnetic screenings
Elementary theory of transport, mobility and diffusion
Element of kinetic theory: Vlasov and Fokker-Planck equations
Wave and instability: ion acoustic wave, electron plasma wave

Chapter 2:
Advanced plasma physics
From a kinetic to a fluid description
MHD equations: derivation and limits, Alfvén theorem and magnetic topology
Magnetic tension, Alfvén and magneto-acoustic waves
Magnetic reconnection: slow and fast, the MRI experiment and space applications
Static equilibrium: cylindrical case and the Grad-Shafranov equation for tokamaks

Chapter 3:
Applied plasma physics
Discharge physics: high pressure, low pressure, breakdown criteria
Thermonuclear reactor and fusion physics
Introduction to capacitive, inductive and microwave reactors
Plasma thrusters and advanced applications

Recommended textbooks:

  • R. J. Goldston & P. H. Rutherford, Introduction to plasma physics, IOP, 1995
  • F. F. Chen, Introduction to plasma physics, Plenum, 1974
  • J. M. Rax, Physique des plasmas, Dunod, 2005
  • S. Galtier, Introduction to modern magnetohydrodynamics, Cambridge, 2016

Course prerequisites and corequisites

Basic knowledge (3rd year level) in classical electrodynamics, statistical physics, fluid mechanics, analytical mechanics and mathematical tools for physics. No major courses are requested to follow this course.

Course concrete goals

On completion of the course students should be able to:

— Broad skills in theoretical and applied plasma physics with a broader interest in the field of plasma physics
— Follow in the best conditions the 2nd year Master in “Plasma Physics and Fusion”.

Attached documents