At night, solar radiation ceases and the free electrons recombine with their host molecules. The D-layer completely disappears and offers no signal loss. The E/F layers merge into a single layer, but remain reflective to HF signals.
However, this combined layer has a lower electron density than daytime levels, lowering the MUF. Astronomers call these ionization layers plasma layers and the lowest frequency that escapes into space the plasma frequency, fp. QRPers look at it just opposite – what is the highest frequency that does not escape into space?
We call this the maximum usable frequency or MUF. In reality, the MUF and plasma frequency are exactly the same.