Up: Main body of lecture 30: Plasma propulsion
Derivation of the Debye length
- In the electrostatic approximation, consider a distribution of electrons that is immersed in a uniform background of positive ions and is in thermal equilibrium with a potential . The density distribution is then a Boltzmann distribution
- Imagine a test particle of charge Ze placed at the origin. Poisson's equation is then
- For , the exponential can be expanded to give
- The Debye length has been introduced.
- The spherically symmetric solution is
where is the Dirac delta function.
John F Santarius
Fri Apr 19 23:02:29 CDT 1996