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Entropy 2013, 15(3), 1118-1134; doi:10.3390/e15031118

Evidence of Large-Scale Quantization in Space Plasmas

1,*  and 1,2
1 Southwest Research Institute, 6220 Culebra Rd., San Antonio, TX 78238, USA 2 Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Texas at San Antonio, One UTSA Circle, San Antonio, TX 78249, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 14 December 2012 / Revised: 28 February 2013 / Accepted: 18 March 2013 / Published: 22 March 2013
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In plasmas, Debye screening structures the possible correlations between particles. We identify a phase space minimum h* in non-equilibrium space plasmas that connects the energy of particles in a Debye sphere to an equivalent wave frequency. In particular, while there is no a priori reason to expect a single value of h* across plasmas, we find a very similar value of h* ≈ (7.5 ± 2.4)×10−22 J·s using four independent methods: (1) Ulysses solar wind measurements, (2) space plasmas that typically reside in stationary states out of thermal equilibrium and spanning a broad range of physical properties, (3) an entropic limit emerging from statistical mechanics, (4) waiting-time distributions of explosive events in space plasmas. Finding a quasi-constant value for the phase space minimum in a variety of different plasmas, similar to the classical Planck constant but 12 orders of magnitude larger may be revealing a new type of quantization in many plasmas and correlated systems more generally.
Keywords: constants, fundamental; space plasma; thermodynamic properties of plasma constants, fundamental; space plasma; thermodynamic properties of plasma
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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  • Correction

    Correction (PDF, 6 KB)

    Page 1124, 3 lines after Equation (3a): The units of ND are in billions of particles, 10^9, instead of 10^10


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Livadiotis, G.; McComas, D.J. Evidence of Large-Scale Quantization in Space Plasmas. Entropy 2013, 15, 1118-1134.

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