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Plasma Physics 1

Module PH2035

This module handbook serves to describe contents, learning outcome, methods and examination type as well as linking to current dates for courses and module examination in the respective sections.

Module version of WS 2022/3 (current)

There are historic module descriptions of this module. A module description is valid until replaced by a newer one.

Whether the module’s courses are offered during a specific semester is listed in the section Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature below.

available module versions
WS 2022/3WS 2021/2WS 2020/1WS 2019/20WS 2018/9WS 2017/8WS 2014/5WS 2010/1

Basic Information

PH2035 is a semester module in English language at Master’s level which is offered in winter semester.

This Module is included in the following catalogues within the study programs in physics.

  • Specific catalogue of special courses for nuclear, particle, and astrophysics
  • Specific catalogue of special courses for Applied and Engineering Physics
  • Complementary catalogue of special courses for condensed matter physics
  • Complementary catalogue of special courses for Biophysics

If not stated otherwise for export to a non-physics program the student workload is given in the following table.

Total workloadContact hoursCredits (ECTS)
150 h 60 h 5 CP

Responsible coordinator of the module PH2035 is Ulrich Stroth.

Content, Learning Outcome and Preconditions


This module gives an introduction into plasma physics with numerous examples of natural phenomena and technical applications. The fundamental properties of plasmas will be introduced together with a general characterization of different types of plasmas and current diagnostic techniques. Topics addressed are charged particles in magnetic fields, adiabatic invariants, the fluid description of plasmas, magneto-hydrodynamic models, the equilibrium condition, plasma stability, the dynamics of typical plasma instabilities and Alfvén waves. The models will be applied to examples from the sun, the ionosphere, technological applications and problems from fusion research.

Learning Outcome

After successful completion of this module the student is able to:

  • name the main properties of plasmas and the difference to neutral gases,
  • describe the dynamics of charged particles in magnetic fields and explain fundamental concepts of magnetic confinement,
  • investigate the stability properties of specific plasmas
  • illustrate the dynamics of typical plasma instabilities and Alfvén waves
  • to describe, on the basis of the learned fundamentals, plasma-diagnostical and technical applications


No preconditions in addition to the requirements for the Master’s program in Physics.

Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature

Courses and Schedule

Learning and Teaching Methods

This module consists of a lecture and an exercise course.

In the lecture the learning content, which covers the theoretical basics and the according experimental realizations, is presented in form of an oral talk and blackboard work. Vivid examples and applications of the described topics will be explained additionally with a beamer presentation. The universal concepts of plasma physics are demonstrated especially with cross references between the different topics. It is emphasized to involve the students into interactive discussions on the contents learned. The course materials contain hyperlinks to original publications in order to encourage the students to perform literature research independently and to deepen the contents learned autonomously with the found, advanced literature.

In the exercise course the learning content is deepened and exercised using problem examples and state of the art programs for system analysis. Thus the students are able to explain and apply the learned physics knowledge independently.


Oral talk, beamer presentation, blackboard work, exercise sheets, exercises and tutor classes, discussions, accompanying website, additional literature.


  • U. Stroth: Plasmaphysik: Phänomene, Grundlagen, Anwendungen, Springer Spektrum, (2018)
  • R.J. Goldston & P.H. Rutherford: Introduction to Plasma physics, Routledge, (1995)
  • T.J.M. Boyd & J.J. Sanderson: The Physics of Plasmas, Cambridge University Press, (2003)
  • F.F. Chen: Introduction to Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion, Springer, (2016)

    Module Exam

    Description of exams and course work

    There will be an oral exam of about 20 minutes duration. Therein the achievement of the competencies given in section learning outcome is tested exemplarily at least to the given cognition level using comprehension questions and discussions on sketches and simple equations.

    For example an assignment in the exam might be:

    • Explain how to judge if matter is presently in the plasma aggregate state.
    • Sketch the possible particle trajectories in the earth's magnetic field.
    • Explain the principle of toroidal plasma confinement using sketches.
    • Explain the dynamics of Alfvén waves and their characteristics.

    Participation in the tutorials is strongly recommended since the exercises prepare for the problems of the exam and rehearse the specific competencies.

    Remarks on associated module exams

    The exam for this module can be taken together with the exam to the associated follow-up module PH2036: Plasmaphysik 2 / Plasma Physics 2 after the follwoing semester. In this case you need to register for both exams in the following semester.

    Exam Repetition

    The exam may be repeated at the end of the semester. There is a possibility to take the exam in the following semester.

    Current exam dates

    Currently TUMonline lists the following exam dates. In addition to the general information above please refer to the current information given during the course.

    Exam to Plasma Physics 1
    Tue, 2024-04-09 till 23:59 Fixed date. Registration for examination date between 01.02.2024 and 15.03.2024 till 2024-03-15 (cancelation of registration till 2024-04-02)
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