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  Is it possible to create a photon with energy lower than the plasma frequency inside a plasma?

+ 1 like - 0 dislike

Suppose we have a plasma with corresponding plasma frequency $\omega_{\text{pl}}$. Next, assume that there is some scattering inside the plasma, due to which photons can be created. Is it possible to create a photon with the energy $E < \omega_{\text{pl}}$? Or such process is impossible?

asked May 22, 2017 in Phenomenology by NAME_XXX (1,060 points) [ no revision ]

2 Answers

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Yes, it is possible. Note, a thick plasma at the temperature $T$ radiates all frequencies, like a black body.

answered May 23, 2017 by Vladimir Kalitvianski (102 points) [ no revision ]
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As Vladimir Kalitvianski says, it is very much possible in a microscopic sense. Highly ionized plasma is a soup of charged particles bumping into each other via Coulombic interaction and thus radiating braking radiation all the time. However, once this radiation is created, it does not take long to encounter another charged particle which scatters it in a different direction. As a result, many plasmas can be understood as optically thick below the plasma oscillation frequency - immediately absorbing and reradiating light with a thermal spectrum in random directions.

I.e., plasmas are full of radiation of every frequency chaotically scattering around the place, it is just that ordered electromagnetic waves can arise only as collective plasma oscillations (plasmons) with specific dispersion relations.

answered May 23, 2017 by Void (1,645 points) [ revision history ]

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