plasmapy.formulary.collisions.fundamental_electron_collision_freq(T_e: Unit('K'), n_e: Unit('1 / m3'), ion, coulomb_log=None, V=None, coulomb_log_method='classical')

Average momentum relaxation rate for a slowly flowing Maxwellian distribution of electrons.

3 provides a derivation of this as an average collision frequency between electrons and ions for a Maxwellian distribution. It is thus a special case of the collision frequency with an averaging factor, and is on many occasions in transport theory the most relevant collision frequency that has to be considered. It is heavily related to diffusion and resistivity in plasmas.

  • T_e (Quantity) – The electron temperature of the Maxwellian test electrons.

  • n_e (Quantity) – The number density of the Maxwellian test electrons.

  • ion (str) – String signifying a particle type of the field ions, including charge state information.

  • V (Quantity, optional) – The relative velocity between particles. If not provided, thermal velocity is assumed: \(μ V^2 \sim 2 k_B T\) where \(μ\) is the reduced mass.

  • coulomb_log (float or dimensionless Quantity, optional) – Option to specify a Coulomb logarithm of the electrons on the ions. If not specified, the Coulomb log will is calculated using the Coulomb_logarithm function.

  • coulomb_log_method (str, optional) – The method by which to compute the Coulomb logarithm. The default method is the classical straight-line Landau-Spitzer method ("classical" or "ls"). The other 6 supported methods are "ls_min_interp", "ls_full_interp", "ls_clamp_mininterp", "hls_min_interp", "hls_max_interp", and "hls_full_interp". Please refer to the docstring of Coulomb_logarithm for more information about these methods.



Return type



Equations (2.17) and (2.120) in 3 provide the original source used to implement this formula, however, the simplest form that connects our average collision frequency to the general collision frequency is is this (from 2.17):

\[ν_e = \frac{4}{3 \sqrt{π}} ν(v_{Te})\]

Where \(ν\) is the general collision frequency and \(v_{Te}\) is the electron thermal velocity (the average, for a Maxwellian distribution).

This implementation of the average collision frequency is equivalent to: * \(1/τ_e\) from ref 1 eqn (2.5e) pp. 215, * \(ν_e\) from ref 2 pp. 33,



Braginskii, S. I. “Transport processes in a plasma.” Reviews of plasma physics 1 (1965): 205.


Huba, J. D. “NRL (Naval Research Laboratory) Plasma Formulary, revised.” Naval Research Lab. Report NRL/PU/6790-16-614 (2016).


Draft Material for “Fundamentals of Plasma Physics” Book, by James D. Callen


>>> import astropy.units as u
>>> from astropy.constants import c
>>> fundamental_electron_collision_freq(0.1 * u.eV, 1e6 / u.m ** 3, 'p')
<Quantity 0.001801... 1 / s>
>>> fundamental_electron_collision_freq(1e6 * u.K, 1e6 / u.m ** 3, 'p')
<Quantity 1.07221...e-07 1 / s>
>>> fundamental_electron_collision_freq(100 * u.eV, 1e20 / u.m ** 3, 'p')
<Quantity 3935958.7... 1 / s>
>>> fundamental_electron_collision_freq(100 * u.eV, 1e20 / u.m ** 3, 'p', coulomb_log_method = 'GMS-1')
<Quantity 3872815.5... 1 / s>
>>> fundamental_electron_collision_freq(0.1 * u.eV, 1e6 / u.m ** 3, 'p', V = c / 100)
<Quantity 5.6589...e-07 1 / s>
>>> fundamental_electron_collision_freq(100 * u.eV, 1e20 / u.m ** 3, 'p', coulomb_log = 20)
<Quantity 5812633... 1 / s>