Register to reply

What is a Self Consistent Electric Field?

by fys iks!
Tags: consistent, electric, field
Share this thread:
fys iks!
Dec4-12, 11:16 PM
P: 40

Ive been doing some reading into 1 dimensional plasma numerical simulations and they keep referring to solving for a "self-consistent" field. If the simulation is in one dimension with periodic boundary conditions, how would I go about solving this electric field?


dE/dx = n - ρ(x)

where: n = const = 1
ρ(x) is the charge density and I want to solve for E numerically where E is "self consistent"

Thanks for your input.
Phys.Org News Partner Physics news on
Researchers demonstrate ultra low-field nuclear magnetic resonance using Earth's magnetic field
Bubbling down: Discovery suggests surprising uses for common bubbles
New non-metallic metamaterial enables team to 'compress' and contain light
Simon Bridge
Dec5-12, 01:22 AM
Sci Advisor
HW Helper
Simon Bridge's Avatar
P: 12,739
The electric field depends on a distribution of charges - but the distribution of charges depends on the electric field. This creates a chicken-and-egg situation.

A "self consistent" field is one which makes the charges distributed so that they generate the field. We can compute them using an iterative procedure.

You start with a guess for a charge distribution ρ0, compute the field that distribution gives rise to. That field will push the charges into a new configuration ρ' - so work out that new distribution as if the field were fixed at what you calculated.

Now repeat the procedure for ρ1=(1-λ)ρ0+λρ' where 0<λ<1.
You have to guess lambda.

Keep going until you keep getting the same result to the desired level of accuracy.

The exact method will depend on the context.

Register to reply

Related Discussions
Ax=b1 and Ax=b2 are consistent. Is the system Ax=b1+b2 necessarily consistent? Calculus & Beyond Homework 5
Is Postive Electric Field at high potential or Negative electric field? Classical Physics 5
Electric field, Electric Potencial, Electric Force, Potential Electric Energy Classical Physics 1
Two charges create an electric field-electric field strenght at a point above h.fiel Introductory Physics Homework 4
1.) Net electric field and 2.) Maximum electric field from centre of a ring Introductory Physics Homework 7