Postgraduate Lectures in Plasma Physics

As part of our PhD training program we provide students with a series of lectures that provide a broad introduction to plasma physics.  The course is split into 6 modules.  Modules 1-4 take place in the first term (October – December), and cover an introduction to plasma physics, waves and transport in plasmas, magnetohydrodynamics and plasma techniques (computational and experimental). The second term (January – March) provides students with introductory/tutorial lectures on a range of research topics in plasma physics and a series of lectures in more advanced plasma theory.  There will be problem sheets set (approximately 6) covering the material for modules 1-4. 

The course is also open to external students.  Imperial College PhD students should attend all of the modules, unless they have arranged with their supervisor to attend alternative classes.  External students are free to select from the modular system to suit their own learning objectives.    The course is organised by Stuart Mangles - please contact him at if you have any questions. 

Lecture notes and question sheets are available here for students enrolled on the course.

The list of lectures planned is given below, though due to scheduling constraints there could be minor changes to this list.

Term 1:  October - December

Module 1 - Introduction to Plasma Physics
Basic Concepts in Plasmas Stuart Mangles
Fluid Basics Michael Coppins
Single particle motion, drift motion, adiabatic invariants Jerry Chittenden
Distribution Functions and the Vlasov Fokker Planck equation Michael Coppins
Moments and the MHD equations Michael Coppins
Summary of the table's contents
Module 2 -Waves and Transport in Plasmas
Waves in fluid plasmas Zulfikar Najumdin
Collisions in Plasmas Robert Kingham
Transport in Plasmas Mark Sherlock
Waves in Kinetic Plasmas Stuart Mangles
Summary of the table's contents
Module 3 - MagnetoHydroDynamics
Waves in MHD plasmas Chris Ham
Ideal MHD, resistive diffusion and equilibria Tim Hender
MHD stability theory Tim Hender
Module 4 - Plasma techniques
Computational methods in plasma physics I Roger Evans
Computational methods in plasma physics II Roger Evans
Experimental Diagnostic Techniques Sergey Lebedev
High Power Lasers Roland Smith

Term 2: January - March

Module 5 - Introduction to Research Topics in Plasma Physics
Laser Plasma Interactions: Peter Norreys
Laser Plasma Interactions at Ultra-high Intensities: Zulfikar Najmudin
Inertial Confinement Fusions Peter Roberts
Tokamaks Chris Ham
Dusty and Industrial Plasmas: Michael Coppins
Ionospheres in the Solar System Marina Galand
Z Pinches Jerry Chittenden
Astrophysical plasmas / plasma turbulence Steve Cowley
Generating x-rays from relativistic charged particle beams Stuart Mangles
Introduction to Shocks and Equations of State Simon Bland
Laboratory Astrophysics Sergey Lebedev
Summary of the table's contents
Module 6  - Advanced Plasma Theory
Radiative and atomic processes in plasmas Steve Rose
Advanced theory of laser plasma interactions Roger Evans
Advanced theory of inertial confinement fusion Roger Evans
Advanced Theory of magnetically confined plasmas Chris Ham
Radiation Hydrodynamics Steve Rose
Summary of the table's contents