Trapped nonneutral plasmas, liquids, and crystals (the thermal equilibrium states)
Abstract
Plasmas consisting exclusively of particles with a single sign of charge (e.g., pure electron plasmas and pure ion plasmas) can be confined by static electric and magnetic fields (in a Penning trap) and also be in a state of global thermal equilibrium. This important property distinguishes these totally unneutralized plasmas from neutral and quasineutral plasmas. This paper reviews the conditions for, and the structure of, the thermal equilibrium states. Both theory and experiment are discussed, but the emphasis is decidedly on theory. It is a huge advantage to be able to use thermal equilibrium statistical mechanics to describe the plasma state. Such a description is easily obtained and complete, including for example the details of the plasma shape and microscopic order. Pure electron and pure ion plasmas are routinely confined for hours and even days, and thermal equilibrium states are observed. These plasmas can be cooled to the cryogenic temperature range, where liquid and crystallike states are realized. The authors discuss the structure of the correlated states separately for three plasma sizes: large plasmas, in which the free energy is dominated by the bulk plasma; mesoscale plasmas, in which the free energy is strongly influenced by the surface; and Coulomb clusters, in which the number of particles is so small that the canonical ensemble is not a good approximation for the microcanonical ensemble. All three cases have been studied through numerical simulations, analytic theory, and experiment. In addition to describing the structure of the thermal equilibrium states, the authors develop a thermodynamic theory of the trapped plasma system. Thermodynamic inequalities and Maxwell relations provide useful bounds on and general relationships between partial derivatives of the various thermodynamic variables.
 Publication:

Reviews of Modern Physics
 Pub Date:
 January 1999
 DOI:
 10.1103/RevModPhys.71.87
 Bibcode:
 1999RvMP...71...87D
 Keywords:

 52.55.Lf;
 52.25.Kn;
 52.25.Dg;
 52.55.Lf;
 52.25.Kn;
 52.25.Dg;
 Fieldreversed configurations rotamaks astrons ion rings magnetized target fusion and cusps;
 Thermodynamics of plasmas;
 Plasma kinetic equations;
 Fieldreversed configurations rotamaks astrons ion rings magnetized target fusion and cusps;
 Thermodynamics of plasmas;
 Plasma kinetic equations