2021 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 and development on plasma has expanded rapidly in recent years, covering a wide range of fields such as fusion energy development, plasma/ion propulsion, and semiconductor plasma processes. The lecture begins with the basic concepts and characteristics of plasma, and covers a wide range of topics about the behavior of charged particles and waves in plasma, low-temperature plasmas generated by electric discharge, the fluid description of high-temperature plasma, and the transport phenomena in plasma. We aim to efficiently learn important points of plasma physics and acquire knowledge useful for research and development using plasma.

Student learning outcomes

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


plasma, discharge, charged particle motions, weakly-ionized plasma, high-temperature plasma, electromagnetic fluid, nuclear fusion

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 Basic concepts of plasma: concept of temperature, definition of plasma, Debye shielding, collective behavior, plasma parameter Explain basic ideas and characteristics of plasma
Class 2 Single-particle motion: cyclotron motion, drift motions, confinement by magnetic mirror, adiabatic invariant Explain motions of charged particles in plasma
Class 3 Generation of low-temperature plasmas: discharges, Paschen's law, collisional processes, sheath formation theory Explain generation of low-temperature plasma using discharges
Class 4 Plasma as fluids: fluid equations, Boltzmann equation, Vlasov equation, MHD equation Explain fluid description of plasma
Class 5 Waves in plasma: plasma oscillation, electron plasma wave, dispersion relations, ion acoustic wave, cutoff Explain wave phenomena in plasma
Class 6 Diffusion and resistivity: diffusion in weakly ionized plasma, ambipolar diffusion, plasma resistivity Explain diffusion of particles in plasma and equilibrium and stability of plasma
Class 7 Plasma applications: fusion energy, plasma process, ion sources, ion/plasma thrusters Explain various applications of plasma

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

Review the contents based on the materials distributed during the class.


Reference materials are distributed.

Reference books, course materials, etc.

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

Assessment criteria and methods

The degree of understanding and knowledge about the basics of plasma physics will be evaluated by quizzes during each class and a final exam.

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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