Electron number density in fusion plasma

In summary, the Saha equation is only useful for colder partially ionized plasmas, and the density is something that we can control in fusion experiments.
  • #1
Dr. Octavious
22
0
Hello everybody,

Is there a way to calculate/predict the electron number density of a plasma?

Thanks in advance
 
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  • #3
Well, in thermonuclear fusion the plasma is fully ionized. I know in the ITER reactor they have an average electron density of 10^20 m-3. Is the Saha equation able to give me a fair approximation?
 
  • #4
It depends on the context.

The Saha equation assumes that you have a uniform plasma in thermodynamic equilibrium. It really only takes into account the atomic processes. It's really not the right tool for understanding the density in the core of a magnetically confined plasma such as ITER. The Saha equation is more useful for colder partially ionized plasmas, such as those used in plasma processing. However, my understanding is that even here the Saha equation has limited utility.

The density is something that we can control in fusion experiments. We can fuel an experiment using gas puffing, neutral beams, and pellet injections.

The theoretical calculation of the density in magnetically confined plasmas is the subject of transport theory. This theory tries to calculate the density profile given the density sources and sinks. There are a number of different processes that give rise to different types of transport. For example there is turbulent transport, neoclassical transport, etc. In order to correctly calculate the density you have to correctly account for all the dominate types of transport. This is actually a very difficult problem with many open questions.

In current carrying devices there is also a hard stability boundary that limits the maximum density in a device. This is the Greenwald limit. The Greenwald limit is often used in design studies of tokamak reactors. Here is is assumed that the tokamak operates at some fraction of this limit.
 
  • #5
Yes I understand. I know the Greenwald limit as a stability boundary and I thought of using this for my calculations. It is hard for an amateur to account for all the possible problems in a tokamak but at least it is fun learning new stuff. I've dealt with many of them in my research but they are so many and complicated in nature. Thank you all for your answers, they were really helpful! I appreciate it
 

1. What is electron number density in fusion plasma?

Electron number density in fusion plasma refers to the number of electrons per unit volume in a plasma, which is a state of matter where the gas is ionized and consists of positively charged ions and free electrons.

2. Why is electron number density important in fusion research?

Electron number density is an important parameter in fusion research because it affects the behavior of the plasma and the efficiency of the fusion process. A high electron number density is necessary for achieving and maintaining a stable plasma state.

3. How is electron number density measured in fusion experiments?

Electron number density in fusion experiments can be measured using various diagnostic tools such as Langmuir probes, interferometers, and Thomson scattering. These tools use different techniques to directly or indirectly measure the number of electrons in the plasma.

4. What factors can affect the electron number density in fusion plasma?

The electron number density in fusion plasma can be affected by a number of factors, including the gas pressure, temperature, and the strength of the magnetic field. Additionally, the presence of impurities and external energy sources can also influence the electron number density.

5. How does the electron number density change during the fusion process?

The electron number density in fusion plasma increases as the fusion process progresses, as more energy is released and more particles are ionized. This increase in electron number density is necessary to maintain a stable plasma state and sustain the fusion reaction.

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