Plasma Physics 1
Module version of WS 2020/1
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 2022/3||WS 2021/2||WS 2020/1||WS 2019/20||WS 2018/9||WS 2017/8||WS 2014/5||WS 2010/1|
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 workload||Contact hours||Credits (ECTS)|
|150 h||60 h||5 CP|
Responsible coordinator of the module PH2035 in the version of WS 2020/1 was Gregor Birkenmeier.
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.
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
|VO||2||Plasma Physics 1||Birkenmeier, G.||
Thu, 08:30–10:00, virtuell
|UE||2||Exercise to Plasma Physics 1||
Responsible/Coordination: Birkenmeier, G.
|dates in groups||
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)
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.
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|
|Wed, 2023-04-12||fester Termin-12.04.2023||till 2023-03-27|