Basic plasma properties

  • Marcel Goossens
Part of the Astrophysics and Space Science Library book series (ASSL, volume 294)


A plasma is an ionized gas that is in a state of electrical quasi-neutrality, the behaviour of which is governed by collective effects due to the long range electromagnetic interaction between the charged particles. In this Chapter we shall study the two basic characteristics that are used in the definition of a plasma: quasi-neutrality and collective behaviour. We shall determine basic consequences arising from the long-range Coulomb interactions and we shall point out the necessity of taking into account the collective behaviour of many charged particles brought about by the long-range interactions. Plasma oscillations and Debye screening are typical examples of this collective behaviour; the plasma thus strongly exhibits a medium-like behaviour. We identify major plasma parameters that characterize the high-frequency behaviour associated with the dynamics of the electrons and the low-frequency behaviour associated with the dynamics of the ions.


Charged Particle Magnetic Field Line LARMOR Frequency Plasma Oscillation Coulomb Collision 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marcel Goossens
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Plasma AstrophysicsK.U. LeuvenBelgium

Personalised recommendations