Debye Number Calculator

The Debye number is a dimensionless quantity used in plasma physics to describe the relative importance of electrostatic and thermal energies within a plasma. This tutorial will guide you through the concept of the Debye number and how to calculate it using specific parameters.

Debye Number (Plasma Parameter) of a Debye Sphere Calculator
Debye Number Calculator Results
Debye number (dimensionless) =

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Example Formula

The Debye number (D) can be calculated using the electron number density (n) and the electron Debye length (λD) with the following formula:

D = √(n × λD3)


  1. D: Debye number (dimensionless)
  2. n: Electron number density (in m-3)
  3. λD: Electron Debye length (in m)

Who wrote/refined the formula

This formula was developed based on the work of Peter Debye, a Dutch physicist and physical chemist who made significant contributions to the understanding of molecular structure, dipole moments, and other aspects of physical chemistry and physics.

Real Life Application

The concept of the Debye number is applied in plasma physics and is used in areas such as space science to help understand and model the behavior of plasmas in the Earth's ionosphere and magnetosphere, in solar physics, and in astrophysical plasmas.

Key individuals in the discipline

Peter Debye was a key individual in the discipline, known for his work in physical chemistry and solid-state physics. He received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1936 for his contributions to our understanding of molecular structure.

Interesting Facts

  • The Debye length, which is part of the Debye number calculation, is named after Peter Debye. It's an important concept in plasma physics as it describes the scale over which mobile charge carriers (like electrons) screen out electric fields in plasmas and other conductors.
  • The Debye number helps characterize the state of a plasma, telling us whether it can be considered fully ionized or not.
  • The Debye model of specific heat, which is different but related to the Debye number, is used to predict behaviors of solids at low temperatures.


The Debye number is a fundamental concept in plasma physics, as it helps describe the behavior of plasmas and allows physicists to determine whether a plasma can be considered fully ionized. Understanding this dimensionless quantity and its calculation opens the door to deeper insights into the intriguing world of plasma physics.

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