Measurements of electric charge and screening length of microparticles in a plasma sheath

Nakamura, Y.; Ishihara, O.
April 2009
Physics of Plasmas;Apr2009, Vol. 16 Issue 4, p043704
Academic Journal
An experiment is described in which microparticles are levitated within a rf sheath above a conducting plate in argon plasma. The microparticles forming a two-dimensional crystal structure are considered to possess Debye screening Coulomb potential [lowercase_phi_synonym](r)=(Q/4π[variant_greek_epsilon]0r)exp(-r/λ), where Q is the electric charge, r is distance, and λ is the screening length. When the crystal structure is slanted with an angle θ, a particle experiences a force Mg sin θ, where M is the mass of the particle and g is acceleration due to gravity, which must be equal to the Debye screened Coulomb force from other particles. By changing θ, relations for λ(Q) are measured. The screening length λ and Q are determined uniquely from the crossing points of several relations. The electric charge Q is also estimated from a floating potential measured with a probe. The measured λ is nearly equal to an ion Debye length.


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