2020 Plasma Physics

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Academic unit or major
Graduate major in Mechanical Engineering
Hasegawa Jun 
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Course description and aims

Research fields related to plasma physics have been rapidly expanding in recent years ---from fundamental studies on fusion energy and plasma propulsion to industrial applications using atmospheric plasmas. In the first part of the course, plasma phenomena existing in our surroundings and the universe are briefly reviewed, and then students learn the basics of plasma such as generation methods, characteristics, boundary phenomena, and particle kinetics. In the next step, derivations of the Vlazov equation, fluid equation, and magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) equation from the fundamental equations of plasma kinetic theory are explained. In these processes, students learn the collective behaviors of plasma such as instabilities and waves. In addition, topics on advanced plasma studies are occasionally introduced so that students can learn how plasma physics are utilized to understand practical phenomena.

Student learning outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
1) explain basic characteristics of plasma
2) explain basic equations governing plasma related phenomena,
3) apply ideas from plasma physics to practical plasma .


plasma, discharge, ionized gas, kinetics of charged particles, magnetohydrodynamic fluid

Competencies that will be developed

Specialist skills Intercultural skills Communication skills Critical thinking skills Practical and/or problem-solving skills

Class flow

In the beginning of each class, solutions to exercise problems given in the previous class are reviewed. In the end of the class, students are given exercise problems related to the contents of the lecture. Students should check the course schedule and what topics will be covered beforehand, and it is strongly recommended for students to prepare and review those topics.

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 Plasma phenomena around our universe, approaches to plasma science and engineering Explain examples of plasma related phenomena and methodologies for studies on plasma science and engineering
Class 2 Generation of plasma (ionization process of gas, weekly-ionized plasma, laser ablation) Explain typical methods for generating plasmas
Class 3 Characteristics of plasma (Debye sheilding, plasma oscillation, collective behavior, collisional relaxation process) Explain basic plasma properties such as Debye sheilding, plasma oscillation, collective behavior, and collisional relaxation processes
Class 4 Boundaries of plasma (sheath formation theory, transport of heat and particles through sheathes) Explain physical phenomena occurring in the boundary layer of plasma
Class 5 Kinetics of plasma particles (cyclotron motion, drift motion, diamagnetic current) Explain examples of the kinetic motion of particles in plasma and of related phenomena
Class 6 Particle description and fluid description (plasma kinetic theory, Vlazov equation, fluid equation) Explain the relationship between particle-like behavior and fluid-like behavior of plasma
Class 7 Waves in plasma (Langmuir wave, cut off, Landau damping, dissipation process), magnetohydrodyamics (ideal MHD equation, magnetohydrodynamic equilibrium, MHD instability) Explain waves in plasma and magnetohydrodynamic equation characteristics

Out-of-Class Study Time (Preparation and Review)

To enhance effective learning, students are encouraged to spend approximately 100 minutes preparing for class and another 100 minutes reviewing class content afterwards (including assignments) for each class.
They should do so by referring to textbooks and other course material.


Reference materials are distributed when needed.

Reference books, course materials, etc.

F. F. Chen, " Introduction to Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion, 2nd Ed.", Plenum Press

Assessment criteria and methods

The understandings and knowledge on the basics of plasma physics are evaluated through mini-exams in the classes.

Related courses

  • PHY.C344 : Plasma Physics
  • EEE.P451 : Plasma Engineering

Prerequisites (i.e., required knowledge, skills, courses, etc.)

Not specified.

Contact information (e-mail and phone)    Notice : Please replace from "[at]" to "@"(half-width character).

hasegawa.j.aa[at]m.titech.ac.jp, 03-5734-3070

Office hours

Instructor’s office: Ookayama Campus, N1 Bldg., Rm 305, 3 Fl. Contact by e-mail in advance to make an appointment.

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