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The Stefan-Boltzmann Law on Pure Proton Plasma

  1. Nov 15, 2014 #1
    Hi guys. I had a question concerning a pure proton plasma with a given temperature and its loss of energy due to the Stefan-Boltzmann law. From my understanding, the Stefan-Boltzmann law applies to objects that contain electrons. I don't think that's true but I would like to know if it is. If true, then does the Stefan-Boltzmann law not apply to plasma composed purely of protons?
     
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  3. Nov 15, 2014 #2

    mfb

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    How would such a plasma be stable at all (long enough to assign a temperature to it)? I would expect a Coulomb explosion.
     
  4. Nov 15, 2014 #3
    I've read that non-neutral plasmas are actually easier to confine. They can be confined for long periods of time using a Penning Trap. I am guessing that they supply energy to the plasma to compensate for losses. However, does the plasma lose energy due to the Stefan-Boltzmann law? I am aware of losses due to collisions and what not but I am interested in whether they lose energy according the the fourth power of their temperature.
     
  5. Nov 16, 2014 #4

    mfb

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    A penning trap is great to capture a few charged particles with few interactions between them and negligible total charge.
    Usually, cooling is a nice feature.

    I would expect to see the 4th power there as well, but as the plasma is thin the prefactor will be different.
     
  6. Nov 16, 2014 #5
    If it were possible to trap a large number of charged particles, would the resulting mass of proton plasma lose power according to the Stefan-Boltzmann law? You said you would expect to see it, right? I always thought that an object couldn't emit blackbody radiation unless it had oscillators such as electrons. Correct me if I am wrong to assume that please.
     
  7. Nov 16, 2014 #6
    I assumed the Stefan-Boltzmann (SB) law only applied to objects that had electrons since the SB law can be derived from Planck's law, which itself was derived on the assumption that the blackbody has oscillators. Since there are no electrons to oscillate around the protons in a pure proton plasma, wouldn't the plasma follow energy losses due to other processes and not due to the SB law?
     
  8. Nov 16, 2014 #7

    mfb

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    The object needs charged components. Protons or other nuclei are charged components.
    There is nothing special about electrons, they are just lighter and therefore easier to accelerate.
     
  9. Nov 16, 2014 #8
    So the protons composing the plasma would oscillate to give off energy according to the fourth power of their temperature as well?
     
  10. Nov 16, 2014 #9

    mfb

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    They would certainly radiate, and I would be surprised if it is not the fourth power.
     
  11. Nov 16, 2014 #10
    Thank you for your time, mfb (:
     
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