EF3310 Waves in Space Plasmas, Advanced Course 8.0 credits

Vågor i rymdplasma, avancerad kurs

The course is a natural continuation of the introduction to waves in plasmas given in the Plasma Physics course, and Waves in Dispersive Media. The primary focus on the course is on a complete theoretical treatment of waves in cold plasmas, and waves in inhomogeneous plasmas, as well as observations and interpretation of ULF and VLF waves in the magnetosphere.

  • Education cycle

    Third cycle
  • Main field of study

  • Grading scale

    P, F

At present this course is not scheduled to be offered.

Intended learning outcomes

After completed course the students should be able to:

·     Describe the most common wave modes observed in space plasmas, including their observational characteristics and theoretical treatment.

·     Discuss the phase and group velocity of the waves in three dimensions, applied to the waves in the near-Earth space

·     Describe the phenomenon of resonance cones and their occurrence in space plasmas

·     Describe observational properties of the ULF waves in the magnetosphere and discuss theoretical interpretation in terms of field line resonance

·     Discuss the propagation characteristics of the whistler waves

·     Describe auroral plasma waves such as auroral kilometric radiation, VLF waves

·     Discuss the most common instabilities in space plasmas

Course main content

Waves in cold plasmas: CMA diagram, dispersion surfaces, propagation at arbitrary angle: phase and group velocity in 3D. Resonance cones. Boundary waves. Waves in inhomogeneous plasmas: WKB method, mode conversion, ray tracing, drift waves.

ULF waves in the magnetosphere: field line resonances. Dispersive Alfven waves. Whistlers in the inner magnetosphere: observations, theory. Auroral plasma waves: auroral kilometric radiation, VLF waves. Instabilities in space plasmas.


Discussion meetings.


EF2200 Plasma Physics, ED2210 Electromagnetic Waves in Dispersive Media, or equivalent knowledge.


Plasma Waves, D.G. Swanson, Academic Press, Inc., 1989.

Plasma Waves in the Magnetosphere, A.D.M. Walker, Springer Verlag, 1993.

Theory of Space Plasma Microinstabilities, S.P. Gary, Cambridge University Press, 1993.

Auroral Plasma Physics, G. Paschmann, S. Halland, 2002.

and selected journal papers


  • EXA1 - Examination, 8.0, grading scale: P, F

Requirements for final grade

Final oral exam.

Offered by

EECS/Space and Plasma Physics


Nickolay Ivchenko


Mykola Ivchenko <nickolay@kth.se>


Course syllabus valid from: Spring 2012.
Examination information valid from: Spring 2019.