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PX392 - Plasma Electrodynamics

  • Module code: PX392
  • Module name: Plasma Electrodynamics
  • Department: Physics
  • Credit: 7.5

Content and teaching | Assessment | Availability

Module content and teaching

Principal aims

The module follows directly from Electrodynamics and builds on the material introduced there. In particular, generation of EM radiation and its scattering from materials will be discussed in the framework of retarded potentials. The interaction of EM fields with a fully ionised fluid (plasma) will be considered in detail leading to ideas of magnetohydrodynamics.

Principal learning outcomes

At the end of the module, you should: Know how Maxwell's equations can be solved to calculate the EM field from known source distributions; Understand the physics of EM radiation and scattering; Understand the nature of bulk fluid-instabilities with application to confinement devices and astrophysics; Be familiar with micro-instabilities and their description via distribution functions; Understand the interaction of electromagnetic waves with plasmas.

Timetabled teaching activities

12 lectures and 3 problem classes

Departmental link

Other essential notes

Plasmas are 'fluids' of charged particles. The motion of these charged particles (usually electrons) is controlled by the electromagnetic fields which are imposed from outside and by the fields which the moving charged particles themselves set up. This module will cover the key equations which describe such plasmas. It will examine some predictions derived on the basis of these equations and compare these with results from laboratory experiments and with observations from in situ measurements of solar system plasmas and remote observations of astrophysical systems. It will also be important to look at instabilities in plasmas and how electromagnetic waves interact with the plasmas.

Module assessment

Assessment group Assessment name Percentage
7.5 CATS (Module code: PX392-7.5)
B (Examination only) 1.5 hr exam (Summer) Plasma Electrodynamics 100%
VA (Visiting students only) 100% assessed (visiting/exchange) PART YEAR 100%

Module availability

This module is available on the following courses:



Optional Core


  • Undergraduate Physics (BSc MPhys) (F304) - Year 3
  • Undergraduate Mathematics and Physics (BSc MMathPhys) (FG33) - Year 3
  • Undergraduate Mathematics (BSc) (G100) - Year 3
  • Undergraduate Mathematics with Intercalated Year (G101) - Year 4
  • Undergraduate Mathematics (MMath) (G103) - Year 3
  • Undergraduate Mathematics (MMath) (G103) - Year 4
  • Undergraduate Master of Mathematics (with Intercalated Year) (G105) - Year 3
  • Undergraduate Master of Mathematics (with Intercalated Year) (G105) - Year 4
  • Undergraduate Master of Mathematics (with Intercalated Year) (G105) - Year 5
  • Undergraduate Mathematics (MMath) with Study in Europe (G106) - Year 4
  • Undergraduate Mathematics and Physics (with Intercalated Year) (GF14) - Year 4