The Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) is the largest single optical telescope in the southern hemisphere and among the largest in the world. It has a hexagonal primary mirror array 11 metres across, comprising 91 individual 1.2m hexagonal mirrors. SALT has a redesigned optical system resulting in a larger field of view and effective collecting area.

# Plasma Physics

## Plasma Physics

## Course Outline:

Plasmas are ubiquitous in the universe and thus an understanding of plasma behaviour is essential for space physics and for much of astrophysics. This course will provide a basic introduction to a range of plasma phenomena. Applications to natural plasmas are given with a view to providing the necessary foundation for a study of space science.

## Syllabus:

**Introduction:**

- Characteristics of plasmas, collective behaviour.

**Single particle motion and drifts:**

- Motion in uniform fields, in non-uniform fields and time-varying fields; adiabatic invariants, trapped particles.

**Two-fluid model of a plasma:**

- Fluid equations; fluid drifts.

**Waves in plasmas:**

- Electrostatic waves: electron and ion frequency waves; oscillations and waves in a magnetic field. Electromagnetic waves: electron and ion frequency waves; EM waves in a magnetic field, parallel and perpendicular propagation.

**Collisional effects:**

- Diffusion, mobility, magnetic field effects; resistivity, magnetic reconnection.

**Equilibrium and stability:**

- Macroinstabilities, streaming fluid instabilities.

**Kinetic theory: **

- Kinetic wave theory, Landau damping, plasma dispersion function, magnetic field effects, non-Maxwellian distributions, microinstabilities.

**Nonlinear effects:**

- Quasilinear theory; shocks, solitons and double layers; parametric instabilities; ponderomotive force.

**Dusty plasmas:**

- Dust grains in plasmas, charging effects, waves in dusty plasmas, self-gravitational effects, strongly coupled dusty plasmas and complex plasma behaviour.

**References:**

- F. F. Chen, Introduction to Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion, Vol 1. Plasma Physics, Plenum, 1984.
- N. A. Krall and A. W. Trivelpiece, Principles of Plasma Physics, McGraw Hill, 1973.
- D. R. Nicholson, Introduction to Plasma Theory Wiley, 1983.
- W. Baumjohann and R. A. Treumann, Basic Space Plasma Physics, Imperial College Press & World Scientific, 1997.
- R. A. Treumann and W. Baumjohann, Advanced Space Plasma Physics, Imperial College Press & World Scientific, 1997.
- F. Verheest, Waves in Dusty Space Plasmas, Kluwer, 2000.