Volume 88, Number 4, November 2009
Article Number 45001
Number of page(s) 5
Section Physics of Gases, Plasmas and Electric Discharges
Published online 30 November 2009
EPL, 88 (2009) 45001
DOI: 10.1209/0295-5075/88/45001

Steepening of solitons (tsunami effect) in complex plasmas

C. Durniak1, D. Samsonov1, S. Zhdanov2 and G. Morfill2

1   Department of Electrical Engineering and Electronics, The University of Liverpool - Liverpool, L69 3GJ, UK, EU
2   Max-Planck-Institut für Extraterrestrische Physik - D-85740 Garching, Germany, EU

received 21 September 2009; accepted in final form 29 October 2009; published November 2009
published online 30 November 2009

The effect of soliton steepening has been observed experimentally and numerically in a complex plasma. Complex plasmas are mixtures of micron-sized microspheres with ion-electron plasmas. Formed in the sheath of a gas discharge they often form monolayer hexagonal quasi-crystals. A soliton propagating in a monolayer with decreasing number density gains amplitude even in the presence of a damping force. This effect is similar to tsunami formation. The results were found to differ from the prediction of the Korteweg-de Vries equation by up to a factor of 1.7.

52.27.Lw - Dusty or complex plasmas; plasma crystals.
52.35.Fp - Electrostatic waves and oscillations (e.g., ion-acoustic waves).

© EPLA 2009