Plasma Frequency Calculator

This tutorial delves into the concept of plasma frequency, a fundamental parameter in plasma physics. Plasma frequency, often referred to as Langmuir frequency, denotes the oscillation frequency of the electrons in a plasma around their equilibrium position. It is a key variable in the study of electromagnetic wave propagation in plasmas and is applicable to various fields, including astrophysics, telecommunications, and nuclear fusion research.

Plasma Frequency Calculator
Plasma Frequency Calculator Results
Plasma Frequency (ωp) = rad/s
ωp = ne × e2/ε0 × me1/2
ωp = × / × 1/2
ωp = /1/2
ωp = 1/2
ωp = √
ωp =

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Example Formula

The formula for plasma frequency (ωp) is given by:

ωp = ne × e2/ε0 × me1/2


  1. ωp: The plasma frequency
  2. ne: The electron number density
  3. e: The electronic charge
  4. ε0: The permittivity of vacuum
  5. me: The mass of an electron

Example Calculation

Lets consider an example to better understand the calculation of plasma frequency. Assume the following values:

  • Electron number density (ne): 1020 m-3
  • Electronic charge (e): 1.602 × 10-19 C
  • Permittivity of vacuum (ε0): 8.854 × 10-12 C2 / N m2
  • Mass of an electron (me): 9.109 × 10-31 kg

The plasma frequency (ωp) can be calculated using the formula:

ωp = (ne × e2 / ε0 × me)1/2

Substituting the values into the formula, we have:

ωp = ((1020 × (1.602 × 10-19)2) / (8.854 × 10-12 × 9.109 × 10-31))1/2

The result will be the plasma frequency in radian per second (rad/s). To convert it to Hertz (Hz), divide the result by 2π.

Who wrote/refined the formula

This formula was first described by physicist Irving Langmuir, who contributed significantly to the study of plasmas in the early 20th century. Although the formula has been refined over time, the basic principle remains intact and it continues to be an important formula in plasma physics.

Real Life Application

The concept of plasma frequency is especially significant in the field of telecommunications, where it is used to understand how electromagnetic waves interact with the Earths ionosphere. Additionally, its an essential parameter in the study of astrophysical plasmas, and in the design and analysis of plasma-based devices, such as plasma antennas and fusion reactors.

Key individuals in the discipline

Irving Langmuir was a significant contributor to the field of plasma physics. His work on ionized gases led to the term plasma being used in this context. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1932 for his work on surface chemistry, but his work on plasmas is also of great significance.

Interesting Facts

  1. The study of plasma frequency has been pivotal in the advancement of long-range radio communication. The ionospheres ability to reflect certain frequencies (a property directly related to its plasma frequency) allows radio signals to be bounced over long distances around the Earth.
  2. Understanding plasma frequency and its interactions with electromagnetic waves is also crucial in designing plasma-based devices such as fusion reactors, potentially revolutionizing energy production in the future.
  3. Despite the plasma state being the most abundant form of matter in the universe, it was the last state of matter to be discovered on Earth due to the high temperatures required for its creation.


Understanding the plasma frequency and its calculation offers valuable insight into the behavior of plasmas and their interaction with electromagnetic waves. Such understanding has broad applications, from advancing telecommunications to potential developments in sustainable energy production. As the study of plasmas continues to evolve, the importance of plasma frequency in both theory and application remains consistent.

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