Register to reply 
Debye length? 
Share this thread: 
#1
May1505, 10:33 AM

P: 551

Can someone explain to me what this is? All we were told in my Physics of Stars module was that for a plasma,
[tex]L \gg \lambda_{D}[/tex], where [tex]\lambda_{D}[/tex] is the Debye length. We were also told that it's an "efolding distance" for a potential, but that doesn't help to understand it. I'm not even sure what L is either (the length of the plasma?? ) :/. Thanks. 


#2
May1505, 11:52 AM

Sci Advisor
HW Helper
P: 11,915



#3
May1505, 02:29 PM

P: 4,006

http://www.tf.unikiel.de/matwis/ama...ne/r2_4_2.html
The definition of Debye length is the length in which mobile charge carriers screen out the external electric field. This applies especially in a plasma. regards marlon 


#4
May1505, 05:24 PM

Admin
P: 21,866

Debye length?
In nuclear interaction, [itex]L = \frac {1}{\Sigma}[/itex], where [itex]\Sigma[/itex] is the macroscopic crosssection of the particle interaction. I assume the module is indicating that the distance between successive collisions of particles is much greater than the Debye length. 


#5
May510, 06:42 PM

P: 33

When you apply a potential diference to a plasma, electrons and ions will be attracted by the positive and negative electrodes respectively. The electric potential generated by the electrodes will then we screened out by the charged particles.The screening decays exponentially as you go away from the elctrode.
A debye lenght is the lenght by which the potential has decayed 1/e.thats what they mean by an efolding. Big L in plasma means the characteristic lenght of the ''plasma''. Thats is, is you talk about space plasma, L is in the AU order, in tokamaks L is in the order of meters, in neon lamps L is in he order of centimeters...and so on. The condition L>>ld is one of the 3 criteria that separates a common ionized gas from a plasma. The other 2 criteria are: Nd>>1 wt>1 Where Nd is THE plasma parameter (number of charged particles in a spherical volume of radius ld), w is the frequency of typical plasma oscilation, and t is themean time between collisions. I hope i was clear enough.=D 


#6
May510, 07:35 PM

P: 692

Previous posts are good. Another resource is the free book from Richard Fitzpatrick:
http://farside.ph.utexas.edu/teaching/plasma/380.pdf see section 1.6. This is a very nice book. HIs derivation uses teh fact that for the vast majority of plasmas ("weakly coupled"  see section 1.7), classical statistics apply, and furthermore [tex] e \phi << k T [/tex]. I'm guessing your prof. means that the length scales you care about are much larger than a Debye length. This statement holds for hte vast majority of plasma physics. jason 


#7
May510, 10:03 PM

P: 33

Thanks for the pdf.
Looks promising =D 


Register to reply 
Related Discussions  
Debye Equation Parameters  Materials & Chemical Engineering  1  
What are Debye potentials?  General Physics  6  
Debye Layer  Classical Physics  2  
The debye frequency  Advanced Physics Homework  3  
Xe Debye lenght  General Physics  1 