Volume 85, Number 4, February 2009
Article Number 45001
Number of page(s) 5
Section Physics of Gases, Plasmas and Electric Discharges
Published online 04 March 2009
EPL, 85 (2009) 45001
DOI: 10.1209/0295-5075/85/45001

Fluid phase separation in binary complex plasmas

A. V. Ivlev, S. K. Zhdanov, H. M. Thomas and G. E. Morfill

Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics - 85741 Garching, Germany, EU

received 2 December 2008; accepted in final form 29 January 2009; published February 2009
published online 4 March 2009

We show that the asymmetry in the interactions between particles of different sizes stimulates a fluid phase separation in binary complex plasmas. This remarkable property is revealed irrespective of the particular form of the interaction potential. The regime of the spinodal decomposition is easily achievable for typical experimental conditions, which suggests that binary complex plasmas could be an ideal model system to study atomistic dynamics accompanying fluid phase transitions and associated phenomena, such as surface tension effects, critical behavior, etc.

52.27.Lw - Dusty or complex plasmas; plasma crystals.
64.75.Cd - Phase equilibria of fluid mixtures, including gases, hydrates, etc.

© EPLA 2009