Plasma physics

Plasma physics is the study of a state of matter comprising charged particles. Plasmas are usually created by heating a gas until the electrons become detached from their parent atom or molecule. This so-called ionization can also be achieved using high-power laser light or microwaves. Plasmas are found naturally in stars and in space.

Latest Research and Reviews

News and Comment

  • Editorial |

    Publicly funded nuclear fusion laboratories are experiencing competition from the private sector, giving new energy to the field.

    Nature Physics 17, 1069
  • News & Views |

    High-order harmonics of laser pulses yield spectral components with shorter wavelength and duration and tighter focus than the original pulse. Precise spatiotemporal characterization of this radiation from a relativistic plasma mirror is relevant for ultrafast science.

    • Laszlo Veisz
    Nature Physics 17, 875-876
  • Comments & Opinion |

    The assembly of the more than a million single parts of the ITER tokamak requires large-scale three-dimensional precision metrology. John Villanueva Jr gives us insights into the complexity of this project.

    • John Villanueva Jr
    Nature Physics 16, 1080
  • News & Views |

    Gold atoms are stripped of 72 of their electrons to form nitrogen-like Au72+ ions inside extremely hot plasmas by irradiating gold foils and nanowires with highly relativistic femtosecond laser pulses.

    • Lap Van Dao
    •  & Peter Hannaford
    Nature Photonics 14, 598-599
  • Comments & Opinion |

    The First Plasma discharge in the ITER tokamak is expected for 2025 with deuterium–tritium plasma operation ten years later. We spoke with ITER’s Director-General, Bernard Bigot, and Tim Luce, head of ITER’s Science & Operations Department, about the current status of the project and potential future directions in fusion research.

    • Stefanie Reichert
    Nature Physics 16, 895-897