Debye Shielding Distance

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Debye Shielding Distance

 

the distance over which the effect of a single charge’s electric field extends in a plasma or electrolyte. This quantity was first introduced by P. Debye in the study of electrolysis phenomena.

If the source of an electric field, for example, a charged particle, is surrounded by a medium containing positive and negative charges, then as a result of polarization the electric field of the source becomes very weak (is shielded) at distances exceeding the Debye shielding distance. The magnitude of the Debye shielding distance depends on the properties of the medium, such as the concentration of charged particles, their charge, and the energy of their thermal motion, that is, temperature. For example, the Debye shielding distance is equal to 5 x 10-5 cm in the plasma of ionized hydrogen at a concentration of 1016 cm-3 and a temperature of 1060K.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.