Fusion Science and Technology / Volume 40 / Number 2 / September 2001 / Pages 119-124
The earth generates its own magnetic field via a dynamo effect in a conducting fluid. The sun and some other stars also generate self-magnetic fields on large spatial scales and long timescales. Laser-produced plasmas generate intense self-magnetic fields on very short spatial and time scales. Could similar phenomena occur on intermediate spatial scales and timescales, such as in a laboratory plasma? Two questions are posed for consideration: (a) At high electromagnetic wave power input into a low-pressure gas could a significant self-magnetic field be generated? (b) If a self-magnetic field were generated, would it evolve toward a minimum-energy state? If the answers turned out to be affirmative, then the use of self-magnetic fields could have interesting applications.