# Phase relation between the electric & magnetic fields in a plasma

• willidietomorrow
In summary, the conversation discussed the method for finding the phase difference between the electric and magnetic fields of electromagnetic waves in a plasma, using the complex conductivity expression. It was mentioned that this can be derived from Maxwell's equations and involves calculations with the curl operators and time derivatives. It was clarified that this is not the same as the phase difference between current and voltage.
willidietomorrow

## Homework Statement

So I have got the question below.
I am asked to find the phase difference between the electric field and magnetic field of electromagnetic waves traveling in a plasma, using the electrical conductivity expression.
Now I have found the frequency of the waves and I know that there is a phase difference between the current and the voltage in the material can be obtained by writing the complex conductivity as A + iB and then finding the angle of that complex number in polar form. What I don't understand is how to calculate the phase difference between the electric field and the magnetic field? Is that the same as phase difference between the current and the voltage?

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willidietomorrow said:
What I don't understand is how to calculate the phase difference between the electric field and the magnetic field? Is that the same as phase difference between the current and the voltage?
No, I don't believe so. You can derive the phase difference between the E and B fields by starting with Maxwell's equations. In particular, you need the two Maxwell equations that involve the curls of the fields. For plane waves you can replace the curl operators by ##i\vec k \times## and replace the time derivatives by ##-i \omega##.

Last edited:

## 1. What is the phase relation between the electric and magnetic fields in a plasma?

The phase relation between the electric and magnetic fields in a plasma can vary depending on the specific conditions of the plasma. In general, for a fully ionized plasma, the electric and magnetic fields are in phase with each other, meaning they oscillate together in time. However, for partially ionized plasmas or plasmas with complex geometries, the phase relation may deviate from this general rule.

## 2. How does the phase relation between the electric and magnetic fields affect plasma behavior?

The phase relation between the electric and magnetic fields has a significant impact on the behavior of a plasma. It can determine the stability of the plasma, as well as affect its ability to confine and heat particles. A proper understanding of the phase relation is crucial for controlling and manipulating plasmas in various applications.

## 3. Can the phase relation between the electric and magnetic fields be manipulated?

Yes, the phase relation between the electric and magnetic fields can be manipulated by altering the external conditions of the plasma or by applying external forces. For example, by changing the strength or direction of an external magnetic field, the phase relation can be altered, which can have a significant impact on the behavior of the plasma.

## 4. Are there any experimental techniques for studying the phase relation between the electric and magnetic fields in a plasma?

Yes, there are various experimental techniques for studying the phase relation between the electric and magnetic fields in a plasma. These include Langmuir probes, interferometry, and polarimetry, among others. These techniques allow scientists to measure the properties of the plasma and determine the phase relation between the electric and magnetic fields.

## 5. How does the phase relation between the electric and magnetic fields differ from that in a vacuum?

The phase relation between the electric and magnetic fields in a plasma differs from that in a vacuum due to the presence of charged particles in the plasma. In a vacuum, the electric and magnetic fields are always perpendicular to each other, while in a plasma, the fields may not be perpendicular and can be influenced by the presence of charged particles and their motion.

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