Large-scale quantization from local correlations in space plasmas

George Livadiotis, David J. McComas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


This study examines the large-scale quantization that can characterize the phase space of certain physical systems. Plasmas are such systems where large-scale quantization, h strok sign is caused by Debye shielding that structures correlations between particles. The value of h strok sign is constant - some 12 orders of magnitude larger than the Planck constant - across a wide range of space plasmas, from the solar wind in the inner heliosphere to the distant plasma in the inner heliosheath and the local interstellar medium. This paper develops the foundation and advances the understanding of the concept of plasma quantization; in particular, we (i) show the analogy of plasma to Planck quantization, (ii) show the key points of plasma quantization, (iii) construct some basic quantum mechanical concepts for the large-scale plasma quantization, (iv) investigate the correlation between plasma parameters that implies plasma quantization, when it is approximated by a relation between the magnetosonic energy and the plasma frequency, (v) analyze typical space plasmas throughout the heliosphere and show the constancy of plasma quantization over many orders of magnitude in plasma parameters, (vi) analyze Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) solar wind measurements to develop another measurement of the value of h strok sign and (vii) apply plasma quantization to derive unknown plasma parameters when some key observable is missing. Key Points Space plasmas are systems that exhibit large-scale quantization New evidence and applications of the large-scale quantization Plasmas can be studied via a quantum-mechanical approach

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3247-3258
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2014
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Geophysics


  • Debye
  • Planck constant
  • plasma
  • quantization
  • uncertainty principle


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