National Academies Press: OpenBook
Suggested Citation:"Bernstein Waves.." National Research Council. 1995. Plasma Science: From Fundamental Research to Technological Applications. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4936.

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BASIC PLASMA EXPERIMENTS 133 sible range of relevant plasma parameters. Although these experiments are not intended to focus directly on any particular application, they can be expected to provide a quantitative understanding of the underlying physical principles and to have a potentially significant impact on an entire spectrum of applications ranging from plasma processing and fusion to astrophysics. Experiments on plasmas in the laboratory began in the 1830s with the work of Faraday to study the role of gas discharges in the chemical transformation of the elements. Further progress hinged on the discovery of the electron and the development of the atomic theory of matter at the end of the last century. In the 1920s, Irving Langmuir discovered the existence of collective oscillations in gas discharges. The understanding of plasma-related phenomena grew substantially with studies of electron beams in the 1940s and 1950s, in conjunction with the development of beam-type microwave devices. Since then, an enormous amount of work has been done in this area, and listing all of it is beyond the scope of this report. To convey the importance of a healthy and vital effort in basic experimental plasma science, we briefly review significant accomplishments in this area since 1980. We then proceed to discuss a number of important areas in which progress could be made in the next decade. These include topics that can be expected to have broad impact in virtually all of the areas of plasma science described elsewhere in this report. By the same token, basic experiments in specific topical areas are described in Part II. Examples include studies of electromagnetic wave-plasma interactions in the chapters on radiation sources and inertial confinement fusion and studies of fluid turbulence and transport in the chapter on nonneutral plasmas. OVERVIEW OF RECENT PROGRESS In this section, the panel presents a selection of areas and topics in which there has been significant progress recently both in experimental studies of fundamental plasma phenomena and in the development of new experimental capabilities. Basic Plasma Experiments Wave Phenomena Bernstein Waves. Bernstein waves are predominantly electrostatic waves that propagate in a magnetized plasma. These waves require a kinetic description, since the dispersion relation is dominated by the cross-field motion of the plasma particles and the wavelengths of these waves are comparable to the gyroradii of the particles. There are branches of the Bernstein wave dispersion relation associated with each of the harmonics of both the electron and the ion cyclotron frequencies. Unlike acoustic and electromagnetic waves, Bernstein waves have

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Plasma science is the study of ionized states of matter. This book discusses the field's potential contributions to society and recommends actions that would optimize those contributions. It includes an assessment of the field's scientific and technological status as well as a discussion of broad themes such as fundamental plasma experiments, theoretical and computational plasma research, and plasma science education.

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