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Entropy 2013, 15(3), 1118-1134;

Evidence of Large-Scale Quantization in Space Plasmas

Southwest Research Institute, 6220 Culebra Rd., San Antonio, TX 78238, USA
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. View Full-Text
Keywords: constants, fundamental; space plasma; thermodynamic properties of plasma constants, fundamental; space plasma; thermodynamic properties of plasma

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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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