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Phys Rev E Stat Nonlin Soft Matter Phys. 2012 May;85(5 Pt 2):056405. Epub 2012 May 15.

Self-confinement of finite dust clusters in isotropic plasmas.

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Center for Materials under Extreme Environment, School of Nuclear Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907-2017, USA.


Finite two-dimensional dust clusters are systems of a small number of charged grains. The self-confinement of dust clusters in isotropic plasmas is studied using the particle-in-cell method. The energetically favorable configurations of grains in plasma are found that are due to the kinetic effects of plasma ions and electrons. The self-confinement phenomenon is attributed to the change in the plasma composition within a dust cluster resulting in grain attraction mediated by plasma ions. This is a self-consistent state of a dust cluster in which grain's repulsion is compensated by the reduced charge and floating potential on grains, overlapped ion clouds, and depleted electrons within a cluster. The common potential well is formed trapping dust clusters in the confined state. These results provide both valuable insights and a different perspective to the classical view on the formation of boundary-free dust clusters in isotropic plasmas.


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