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EEC231A – Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion

3 units – Fall, Winter and Spring Quarter

Lecture: 3 hours

Prerequisite: Graduate Standing in Engineering; consent of instructor

Grading: Letter.

Catalog Description:

Equilibrium plasma properties; single particle motion; fluid equations; waves and instabilities in a fluid plasma; plasma kinetic theory and transport coefficients; linear and nonlinear Vlasov theory; fluctuations, correlations and radiation; inertial and magnetic confinement systems in controlled fusion.

Expanded Course Description:

  1. Plasma physics applications
  2. Particle motion in electromagnetic field; adiabatic invariants
  3. Fluid equations and diamagnetic drifts
  4. Debye shielding; plasma sheaths
  5. Maxwell’s equations in the plasma; the equivalent dielectric tensor
  6. Waves in cold and warm plasmas: CMA diagram; phase velocity surfaces; polarization and particle orbits; Fredericks and Stringer diagrams for low-frequency waves
  7. Electromagnetic waves: ordinary and extraordinary waves, Appleton-Hartree formula, microwave diagnostics. Alfven waves whistlers, e.m., cyclotron waves
  8. Electrostatic waves: Bohm-Gross waves, ion acoustic waves. two-ion hybrid waves, ion cyclotron waves
  9. Wave packets and group velocity in anisotropic media; resonance cones
  10. Diffusion in partially ionized gases
  11. Resistivity and diffusion in fully ionized gases; magnetic viscosity
  12. Magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) theory
  13. Single-fluid equations
  14. Kinetic theory; Vlasov equation and Landau damping
  15. Basic types of instabilities


  1. P.M. Bellan, Fundamentals of Plasma Physics, Cambridge University Press (6 April 2006)
  2. Stix, Waves in Plasmas (1992), American Institute of Physics, NY ISBN 0-88318-859-7

Instructors: Luhmann


Note: Former EAD 280A now EEC 231A due to discontinuation of EAD course. Course content has not changed, only course department & number. Expanded Course Description Added 7-1-14

Last revised: July 2015