Nomenclature in the Physics of Ionized Gases


IT is now recognized that most of the matter of the universe is highly ionized, and in laboratories the examination of highly ionized gases is being extensively pursued. The fully ionized gas is regarded as the fourth state of matter, existing for conditions where the kinetic energy of the atoms, molecules or electrons (as appropriate) exceeds the characteristic binding energy of the three other states, solid, liquid and gas1. Although it is vital that a unique name be given to this state of matter in line with the other states, no consistent nomenclature exists.

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KAUFMAN, A. Nomenclature in the Physics of Ionized Gases. Nature 206, 1349 (1965).

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