Volume 84, Number 3, November 2008
Article Number 35002
Number of page(s) 5
Section Physics of Gases, Plasmas and Electric Discharges
Published online 31 October 2008
EPL, 84 (2008) 35002
DOI: 10.1209/0295-5075/84/35002

Dust charge distribution in complex plasma afterglow

L. Couëdel1, 2, A. A. Samarian1, M. Mikikian2 and L. Boufendi2

1   School of Physics A28, The University of Sydney - NSW 2006, Australia
2   GREMI (Groupe de Recherches sur l'Énergétique des Milieux Ionisés), CNRS/Université d'Orléans 14 rue d'Issoudun, 45067 Orléans Cedex 2, France, EU

received 28 July 2008; accepted in final form 1 October 2008; published November 2008
published online 31 October 2008

Dust charge distributions have been measured for the first time in a complex plasma. Experiments were performed late in a discharge afterglow. Residual charges of few hundred particles have been determined. It was found that the mean residual charge is negative but the tail of the distribution extends into the positive-charge region. The experiments were complemented by numerical simulations taking into account discreteness of the charging process and dependence of plasma parameters on the transition from ambipolar to free diffusion. It is shown that the existence of positively charged particles can be explained by the broadening of the dust charge distribution in the late complex plasma afterglow.

52.27.Lw - Dusty or complex plasmas; plasma crystals.

© EPLA 2008