What are Plasmas?
States of Matter*
Primary Natural Systems
matter, compact (nuclear)
are only four dominant naturally-occurring states of matter although many
other states of matter exist when considered broadly (see A. Barton, States
of Matter, States of Mind, IOP Press, 1997).
are conductive assemblies of charged particles, neutrals and fields
that exhibit collective effects. Further, plasmas carry electrical currents
and generate magnetic fields. Plasmas are the most common form of matter, comprising
more than 99% of the visible universe, and
permeate the solar system, inter-stellar and intergalactic environments.
Navier-Stokes equations are basic equations for studies of fluids and
neutral gas systems. The Maxwell equations for electromagnetism and the
plasma Boltzmann equation are the basic equations for studies of electromagnetic
systems of which plasmas are a prime example
- see references.
Plasmas are radically multiscale in two senses
(1) most plasma systems involve electrodynamic coupling across micro-, meso-
and macroscale and
(2) plasma systems occur over most of the physically possible ranges in space,
energy and density scales. Further details are provided at the public plasma
Powers of 10 is useful for grasping the unique way
in which plasmas are radically multi-scale in space, energy and density.
Because plasmas are conductive
and respond to electric and magnetic fields and can be efficient sources of
radiation, they can be used in innumerable applications where such control
is needed or when special sources of energy or radiation are required.
topics page provides close to 200 subject
areas in plasma science and technology and nearly 100 applications!
topical areas of plasma science and technology
Equilibria, dynamic and static
and Beam Interactions in Plasmas
Plasmas and Simulations
inclusively, it is clear that plasma science and technology encompasses immense
diversity, pervasiveness and potential. Diversity through numerous topical
areas; pervasiveness by covering the full range of energy, density, time and
spatial scales; and potential through innumerable current and future applications.
This is the exhibit theme
at the public plasma page.