plasmapy.physics.transport.collisions.impact_parameter_perp(T, particles, V=<Quantity nan m / s>)

Distance of closest approach for a 90 degree Coulomb collision.

  • T (Quantity) – Temperature in units of temperature or energy per particle, which is assumed to be equal for both the test particle and the target particle
  • particles (tuple) – A tuple containing string representations of the test particle (listed first) and the target particle (listed second)
  • V (Quantity, optional) – The relative velocity between particles. If not provided, thermal velocity is assumed: \(\mu V^2 \sim 2 k_B T\) where mu is the reduced mass.

impact_parameter_perp – The distance of closest approach for a 90 degree Coulomb collision.

Return type:

float or numpy.ndarray

  • ValueError – If the mass or charge of either particle cannot be found, or any of the inputs contain incorrect values.
  • UnitConversionError – If the units on any of the inputs are incorrect
  • TypeError – If T, or V are not Quantities.
  • RelativityError – If the input velocity is same or greater than the speed of light.
  • ~astropy.units.UnitsWarning – If units are not provided, SI units are assumed
  • ~plasmapy.utils.RelativityWarning – If the input velocity is greater than 5% of the speed of light.


The distance of closest approach, impact_parameter_perp, is given by [1]

\[b_{\perp} = \frac{Z_1 Z_2}{4 \pi \epsilon_0 m v^2}\]


>>> from astropy import units as u
>>> T = 1e6*u.K
>>> particles = ('e', 'p')
>>> impact_parameter_perp(T, particles)
<Quantity 8.35505011e-12 m>


[1]Francis, F. Chen. Introduction to plasma physics and controlled fusion 3rd edition. Ch 5 (Springer 2015).