• Featured in Physics

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
Physics logo See Focus story: Plasma Generates Surprising Patterns


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.

  • Figure
  • Figure
  • Figure
  • Figure
  • Figure
  • Figure
  • Received 2 February 2011


© 2011 American Physical Society


Key Image

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.

See more in Physics

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

Article Text (Subscription Required)

Click to Expand

References (Subscription Required)

Click to Expand

Vol. 106, Iss. 21 — 27 May 2011

Reuse & Permissions

1923: Compton shows light’s particle nature
View timeline|#PhysRev125
Access Options
Information on SCOAP3 and Physical Review journals
January 3, 2018

High Energy Physics (HEP) papers published after January 1, 2018 in Physical Review Letters, Physical Review C, and Physical Review D are published open access, paid for centrally by SCOAP3. Library subscriptions will be modified accordingly. This arrangement will initially last for two years, up to the end of 2019.

Authorization Required




Sign up to receive regular email alerts from Physical Review Letters

Log In



Article Lookup

Paste a citation or DOI

Enter a citation