Plasma Potential

Since plasmas are very good electrical conductors, electric potentials play an important role. The average potential in the space between charged particles, independent of how it can be measured, is called the "plasma potential", or the "space potential". If an electrode is inserted into plasma, its potential will generally lie considerably below the plasma potential due to what is termed a Debye sheath. The good electrical conductivity of plasmas makes their electric fields very small. This result in the important concept of "quasineutrality", which says the density of negative charges, is approximately equal to the density of positive charges over large volumes of the plasma, but on the scale of the Debye length there can be charge imbalance. In the special case that double layers are formed, the charge separation can extend some tens of Debye lengths.

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