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Pattern Formation in a Complex Plasma in High Magnetic Fields

M. Schwabe, U. Konopka, P. Bandyopadhyay, and G. E. Morfill
Phys. Rev. Lett. 106, 215004 – Published 27 May 2011
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Low-pressure room-temperature neon, argon, krypton, and air plasmas were studied in magnetic fields up to flux densities of 2.3 T. Filaments appeared parallel to the magnetic field lines, and patterns such as spirals and concentric circles formed in the perpendicular direction. We link these effects to the magnetization of the ions. We also used a layer of embedded microparticles as probes in the plasma. Their motion changed dramatically from a collective rotation of the whole ensemble in moderate magnetic fields to a rotation in several small vortices centered at the filaments.

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  • Received 2 February 2011


© 2011 American Physical Society


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Plasma Generates Surprising Patterns

Published 27 May 2011

Complex structures appear spontaneously in a plasma in a strong magnetic field. The work explores a new regime of plasma behavior that could be relevant for industry and demonstrates a new technique for imaging plasma dynamics.

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Authors & Affiliations

M. Schwabe*, U. Konopka, P. Bandyopadhyay, and G. E. Morfill

  • Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik, D-85748 Garching, Germany

  • *schwabe@mpe.mpg.de

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Vol. 106, Iss. 21 — 27 May 2011

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