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Over 15 billion years ago our universe was squeezed into an extremely small ball, that was unstable

and exploded violently. This was the most gigantic explosion of all time. This description of the early universe is known today as the, Big Bang; model the matter which composed the universe was so hot that ever thing was in the form of plasma. Thus, in the very beginning, plasma was the first state of matter. The fragments of this explosion became the stars of our universe. During the expansion of our universe, the matter cooled down and thus some of the plasma changed into gas, which further cooled down and became transformed into the liquid and eventually the solid states. Although plasma on earth is man made most of our universe is ion a plasma state. Our sun is in a plasma state and since almost all of the stars that we observe in the sky are suns, they too, are in the plasma state. However, the planet earth and all the other planate and their moons are not in a state of plasma. As more than 99% of the universe is composed of the plasma, it is vital to understand plasma physics in order to learn about the universe and ours surroundings. Plasma physics is strongly related to applied sciences. In particularly, international communication, energy power generator, and the nuclear fusion bomb, hydrogen bomb. Are the examples of good and bad plasma applications? Nuclear fusion research is motivated by the need to solve the energy problem for generation to come. Today there is an international effort to solve the energy problem and this has been the main stimulant for the development of laboratory plasma physics. What is plasma When soild are heated converted into liquid. Further heating convert the liquid into gas. If the gas is heated further it convert into ve electrons and +ve charges nucleons. This electrified gas apparently seems as neutral is called "Plasma". It is often called the fourth state of matter. Any ionized gas is not plasma. There is always some degree of ionization in any gas. A useful definition of plasma is.

"A Plasma is a quasi-neutral gas of charged particle and neutral particles winch exhibits collective behavior." Quasi-neutral mean that seems apparently neutral i.e. number of opposite species (+ve, - ve ) must be equal.
ni ne

Collective behavior mean that it should behave like a continue medium. If we apply a perturbation (Electric, Magnetic field etc), the Perturbation must propagate through the whole plasma. It must pass through the region. So, Plasma Physics is the branch of Physics which deal with plasma and deals with the production of energy. Solid liquid gas plasma 1. D << L

The first condition for the plasma is that, the dimension of the container must be bigger than the Debye length, otherwise the plasma touch the walls of container and impart their temperature on the wall and ionized gas will not remain plasma. So for existence of plasma it is necessary that Debye length must be smaller than the dimension (length) of the system.
2. ND >> 1

The picture of Debye shielding is valid only if there are enough particles in the charge cloud. Clearly, if there are only one or two particles in the sheath region, Debye shelding would not be a statistical valid concept. ND is the number of particles in Debye spher and is given as
4 3 N D = n D 3

In addition to D << L collective behavior requires ND>>1


> 1

A third condition has to do with collision. For example the weakly ionized gas in jet exhaust do not qualify as a plasma, because the charged particles collide with neutral atoms so frequently that their motion is controlled by ordinary hydrodynamic forces rather than by the electromagnetic forces. If co is the frequency of typical plasma oscillations and x is the mean time between collision with neutral atoms, we require co x > I for a gas to behave like a plasma rather than a neutral gas.

Plasma applications:
Plasma can be characterized by two parameters "n" and Ke. Plasma applications cover an extremely wide range of "n" and Ke. "n" varies over 28 orders of magnitude from 106 to 1034 m-3, and K can vary over seven orders from 0.1 to 106ev. Some of these applications are discussed very briefly below.


Gas Discharges (Gaseous Electronics)

In 1920's the earliest work with plasma was that of Langmuir, Tanks and their collaborators. This research was inspired by the need to develop vacuum tubes that could carry large Currents, and therefore had to be filled with ionized gases. The research was done with weakly ionized glow discharges with Ke 2ev and 1014 < n < 1018 m-3 in which the shielding phenomenon was discovered, the sheath surrounding an electrode could be seem visually as a dark layer. Gas discharges nowadays are encountered in mercury rectifiers, hydrogen thyratrons, ignitrons, spark gaps, neon and fluorescent light etc.


Controlled thermonuclear Fusion:

The beginnings of modern plasma physics is around 1952. It was proposed that fusion reaction of Hydrogen bomb can be controlled by a reactor. The principal reactions, which involve deuterium (D) and Tritium (T) atoms, are as follows,
D + D 3 He + n + 3.2 Mev D + D T + P + 4.0Mev D + T 4 He + n + 17.6 Mev

The cross sections for these fusion reactions are appreciable only for incident energies above 5 kev. Accelerated beam of deuterons bombarding a target will not work, because most of the deuterons will be their energy by scattering before undergoing a fusion reaction. For a plasma creation it is necessary that the thermal energies are in the 10-Kev range. The problem is of heating which is still unsolved, and most of the active research in plasma physics is directed towards the solution of this problem.


Space Physics:

Space physics is another physics. It is the study of earth's environment in space. A continuous stream of charged particles, (solar wind) impinges on the earths magnetosphere, which shields us from this radiation and is distorted by it in the process. The solar which parameters are n=5x106 cm-3, KTe = 50ev, KTi = 10ev B = 5xl0-9 T and drift velocity 300 Km/sec. The ionosphere, extending from an altitude of 50 Km to 10 earth radii, is populated by a weakly ionized plasma with density varying with altitude up to n = 1012 m-3 . The temperature is only 10-1 ev. The van Allen belts are composed of charged particles trapped by the earth's magnetic field. Here we have n < 109 m-3 KTe < 1 Kev, KTi 1 ev and B 500 x109 T

in addition, there is a hot component with n = 103 m-3 and KTe = Kev.


Modern Astrophysics:

Atmosphere and interiors are not enough to be in plasma state. The temperature at the core of the sun is 2keV! Thermonuclear reaction responsible for the sun radiation at this temperature. The solar corona is plasma with a temperature up to 200ev. The stars in a galaxy are not charge. They behave like particles in a plasma, and plasma Kinetic theory has been used to predict the development of galaxies. Radio astronomy has uncovered numerous sources of radiation that most likely originate from plasma. The Crab nebula is a rich source of plasma phenomena because it is contain a magnetic field. It also contain a visual pulsar. Current theories of pulsars picture them as rapidly rotating neutron stars with plasma emitting synchrotron radiation from the surface.


MHD Energy conversion and ion propulsion:

In earth we come to two particle applications of plasma physics. MHD energy conversion utilizes a dense plasma jet propelled across a magnetic field to generate electricity. The Lorentz force qv x B, where v is the jet velocity, causes the ions to drift upward and the electrons downward, charging the two electrodes with out the inefficiency of a heat cycle. The some principle in reverse has been used to develop engines for interplanetary missions. By applying a voltage to the two electrodes a current is driven through a plasma. The j x B force shoots the plasma out of the rocket, and the ensuing reaction force accelerates the rocket. The plasma ejected must always be neutral, otherwise the space ship will charge to a high potential.


Gas Lasers:

The most common method to "pump" a gas laser is to invert the population in the states that give rise to light amplification, is to use gas discharge. This can be low pressure glow discharge for a dc laser or a high pressure avalanche discharge in a pulsed laser. The He - Ne laser commonly used for alignment and surveying and the Ar and Kr lasers used in light shows are examples of dc gas lasers. The powerful Co2 laser is finding commercial application as a cutting tools. Molecular lasers make possible studies of the hitherto inaccessible far infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum. These can be directly excited by an electrical discharge, as in a hydrogen cyanide (HCN) laser, or can be optically pumped by a Co2 laser, as with the methyl fluoride (CH3F) or methyl alcohol (CH3OH) laser. Even solid state lasers, such as Nd-glass depend on a plasma for their operation, since the Hash tubes used for pumping contain gas discharges.