Introduction to Plasma Physics

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 2010/1

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

available module versions
WS 2014/5WS 2010/1

Basic Information

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

This module description is valid to SS 2014.

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 75 h 5 CP

Responsible coordinator of the module PH2035 in the version of WS 2010/1 was Ulrich Stroth.

Content, Learning Outcome and Preconditions


This module provides an introduction to plasma physics. In addition to the fundamentals of plasma physics also technical applications and their occurrence  in nature are presented. Essential properties of plasmas (such as quasi neutrality and long-range Coulomb interaction) and their effect on the plasma behavior and possible diagnostic methods are discussed. For example, the interaction of the plasma with the surrounding walls and the resulting applications (for example, plasma etching), gas discharge physics (Application: Fluorescent lamps) the influence of magnetic fields (magnetic confinement astrophysical phenomena), wave propagation described in plasmas (radio traffic, interferometry) are desribed. Theoretical methods for describing plasmas (such as kinetic theory, magnetohydrodynamics) are presented and their applications are shown in examples. 

Learning Outcome

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

  1. to name essential properties of plasmas and the differences from the ideal gas
  2. to explain the collisions between the plasma particles and calculate the parameter dependence of the collision times
  3. to explain the conditions for a complete and a local thermodynamic equilibrium or a corona equilibrium
  4. to explain the different theoretical approaches to plasma physics and to understand their specific application limits
  5. to understand and explain the propagation of electromagnetic radiation in plasmas 
  6. to explain methods of plasma diagnostics and technical applications on the basis of the learned basics  


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

Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature

Courses and Schedule

VU 4 Plasmaphysik 1 Stroth, U.
Mitwirkende: Birkenmeier, G.
Donnerstag, 08:30–10:00
sowie Termine in Gruppen

Learning and Teaching Methods

Vortrag, Beamerpräsentation, Tafelarbeit, Übungen in Einzel- und Gruppenarbeit, Diskussion, Lehrfilme


Übungsblätter, begleitende Internetseite, ergänzende Literatur


  • U. Stroth, Plasmaphysik, Phänomene, Grundlagen, Anwendungen,
    VIEWEG+TEUBNER Press, New York", Wiesbaden 2011
  • R.J. Goldston, P.H. Rutherford, "Plasmaphysik. Eine Einführung", Vieweg 1998, ISBN: 3-528-06884-1,
  • J.A. Bittencourt, Fundamentals of Plasma Physics
    Springer, Heidelberg, 2004
  • T.J.M. Boyd and J.J. Sanderson, "The Physics of Plasmas", Cambridge University Press 2003, ISBN: 0 521 459125,
  • F.F. Chen, "Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion", Plenum Press, 1990, ISBN: 0-306-41332-9,
  • T.H. Stix, "Waves in Plasmas", AIP, 1992, ISBN: 0-88318-859-7

Module Exam

Description of exams and course work

In an oral exam the learning outcome is tested using comprehension questions and sample problems.

In accordance with §12 (8) APSO the exam can be done as a written test. In this case the time duration is 60 minutes.

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 und Fusionsforschung / Plasma Physics and Fusion Research after the follwoing semester. In this case you need to register for both exams in the following semester.

Exam Repetition

There is a possibility to take the exam at the end of the semester. There is a possibility to take the exam in the following semester.

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