Plasma Physics


Plasma physics is the study of a state of matter comprising charged particles. Plasmas are usually created by heating a gas until the electrons become detached from their parent atom or molecule. This so-called ionization can also be achieved using high-power laser light or microwaves. Plasmas are found naturally in stars and in space.



Lightning is an example of plasma present at Earth's surface. Typically, lightning discharges 30,000 amperes at up to 100 million volts, and emits light, radio waves, X-rays and even gamma rays. Plasma temperatures in lightning can approach 28,000 K (28,000 °C; 50,000 °F) and electron densities may exceed 1024 m−3.



 


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