Structural properties of 3D complex plasmas under microgravity conditions
Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik - D-85741 Garching, Germany, EU
2 University of Maryland - College Park, MD 20742, USA
3 Joint Institute for High Temperatures, Russian Academy of Sciences - Moscow, 125412, Russia
Accepted: 20 September 2010
We report the structural properties of three-dimensional complex plasmas observed recently on board the International Space Station. A local order analysis reveals spatially resolved features that occur during the crystallization of a plasma crystal. The plasma crystal consists of hcp and fcc phases with a small fraction of bcc-like clusters. It has been shown that the observed anisotropy of the system of microparticles is due to presence of the hcp phase. Molecular-dynamics simulations of crystallization of a system of particles, interacting via Debye-Hückel (Yukawa) potential, reproduces the observed local order remarkably well.
PACS: 52.27.Lw – Dusty or complex plasmas; plasma crystals / 83.80.Gv – Electro- and magnetorheological fluids
© EPLA, 2010