• Support PF! Buy your school textbooks, materials and every day products Here!

Non-Fusion-Related Plasma Physics?

  • Physics
  • Thread starter Dynamos
  • Start date
  • #1
13
0

Main Question or Discussion Point

Hi everyone.

I am interested in studying plasma physics, but not so much in studying nuclear fusion.

Is there a market for plasma physics research that is not geared toward nuclear fusion technology?

Thanks
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
1,254
3
Plasma physics is extremely important for astrophysics, especially the physics of compact objects, accretion, jets, gamma ray bursts, supernovae, etc. There is less money and very little experiment in this field however. Not to mention that its entirely academic, no industry.
 
  • #3
13
0
That is what I feared.
Thanks.

I suppose one could earn one's living teaching math/physics, while doing plasma research on the side then?
 
  • #4
96
1
If you're not dead set on "pure" physics, one of the applications of plasma physics is spacecraft propulsion. Try looking up some papers on plasma physics from APS or IEEE.
 
  • #5
13
0
If you're not dead set on "pure" physics, one of the applications of plasma physics is spacecraft propulsion. Try looking up some papers on plasma physics from APS or IEEE.
Will do. Thanks. I'll still keep an eye on what's going on with fusion energy too.
 
  • #6
47
0
It's just a guess, I don't know if there's any research needed, but what about plasma TVs?
 
  • #7
13
0
It's just a guess, I don't know if there's any research needed, but what about plasma TVs?
Yeah, I never thought of that.
I guess that there are also industrial applications of plasma technology.
 
  • #8
One area of non-fusion research is laser-driven electron accelerators (AKA plasma wakefield accelerators). These can accelerate particles to GeV's over a much shorter distance than current accelerators. There is a lot of interest in this for medical technologies, because right now accelerators for cancer therapy are too big and expensive for most hospitals. Laser-drive accelerators would supposedly be smaller and cheaper. See more information here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plasma_acceleration

Plasma-arc waste disposal is another area, though I would imagine this is mostly engineering.

Take a look at the applied areas of research here for some more info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plasma_(physics [Broken])
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #9
Astronuc
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
18,706
1,720
Inductively coupled plasmas are used for emission spectroscopy for determination of elements (including impurities) in alloys.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inductively_coupled_plasma
http://www.cee.vt.edu/ewr/environmental/teach/smprimer/icp/icp.html [Broken]
or search google for "Inductively-coupled plasmas"

There is plasma-etching as well - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reactive_ion_etching

Plasmas are used in propulsion - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pulsed_inductive_thruster

Plasmas can be used for surface modification including PVD.
Plasma diagnostic of ion and plasma PVD processes


http://www3.gettysburg.edu/~marschal/physics/plasma/index.htm [Broken]
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • #10
13
0
Thanks for the responses everyone.

I think I like radio propagation in plasma environments (ie the ionosphere), the medical use, and space propulsion best. However, my concerns about fusion tech (60 yrs of being "on the cusp") may also apply to plasma propulsion. (Correct me if I am wrong!)
 
  • #11
One area of non-fusion research is laser-driven electron accelerators (AKA plasma wakefield accelerators). These can accelerate particles to GeV's over a much shorter distance than current accelerators. There is a lot of interest in this for medical technologies, because right now accelerators for cancer therapy are too big and expensive for most hospitals. Laser-drive accelerators would supposedly be smaller and cheaper. See more information here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plasma_acceleration

Plasma-arc waste disposal is another area, though I would imagine this is mostly engineering.

Take a look at the applied areas of research here for some more info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plasma_(physics [Broken])
There are other schemes of laser-plasma interactions for accelerating particles. I'm an undergraduate working on ion acceleration from thin foil targets in the radiation pressure acceleration (RPA) scheme. My work is a mix of analytic theory and computational science.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Related Threads for: Non-Fusion-Related Plasma Physics?

Replies
1
Views
754
Replies
1
Views
796
Replies
2
Views
289
  • Last Post
Replies
3
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
1
Views
2K
Replies
8
Views
5K
Replies
5
Views
3K
Replies
0
Views
2K
Top