Dusty plasma cavities: Probe-induced and natural



Harris, Brandon Joseph.
Matthews, Lorin Swint.
Hyde, Truell Wayne.

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American Physical Society


A comprehensive exploration of regional dust evacuation in complex plasma crystals is presented.Voids created in three-dimensional crystals on the International Space Station have provided a rich foundation for experiments, but cavities in dust crystals formed in ground-based experiments have not received as much attention. Inside a modified Gaseous Electronics Conference rf cell, a powered vertical probe was used to clear the central area of a dust crystal, producing a cavity with high cylindrical symmetry. Cavities generated by three mechanisms are examined. First, repulsion of micrometer-sized particles by a negatively charged probe is investigated. A model of this effect developed for a dc plasma is modified and applied to explain experimental data in rf plasma. Second, the formation of natural cavities is surveyed; a radial ion drag proposed to occur due to a curved sheath is considered in conjunction with thermophoresis and a flattened confinement potential above the center of the electrode. Finally, cavity formation upon increasing the probe potential above the plasma floating potential is justified by a combination of ion drag and sheath edge modification. The cavities produced by these methods appear similar, but each is shown to be facilitated by fundamentally different processes.




Physical Review E, 91(6), 063105, 201