Dusty Plasma / Space Station Illuminates Dusty Plasmas For A Wide Range of Research / and NASA Worldview: May17, 2017

Vancouver Island & Canada BC  (above) / May 17, 2017      https://go.nasa.gov/2quKwch

DUSTY PLASMA: The Plasma Universe

A dusty plasma (or complex plasma) is a plasma containing nanometer or micrometer-sized particles suspended in it. Dust particles may be charged and the plasma and particles behave as a plasma [1] [2], following electromagnetic laws for particle up to about 10 nm (or 100 nm if large charges are present). Dust particles may acrete into larger particles resulting in “grain plasmas”. Dusty plasmas can also be the dominant current carrier.[3]. They are of special interest, since they can form liquid and crystalline states, plasma crystals, and the dynamics of the charged dust grains are directly observable.[4]

Examples of dusty plasmas include comets, planetary rings, exposed dusty surfaces, and the zodiacal dust cloud.[5], and dust in interplanetary space, interstellar and circumstellar clouds.[6]

Dusty plasmas are interesting because presence of particles significantly alters the charged particle equilibrium leading to different phenomena. It is field of current research. Electrostatic coupling between the grains can vary over a wide range so that the states of the dusty plasma can change from weakly coupled (gaseous) to crystalline. Such plasmas are of interest as a non-Hamiltonian system of interacting particles and as a means to study generic fundamental physics of self-organization, pattern formation, phase transitions, and scaling.

The electric potential of dust particles is typically 1–10 V (positive or negative). The potential is usually negative because the electrons are more mobile than the ions. The physics is essentially that of a Langmuir probe that draws no net current, including formation of a Debye sheath with a thickness of a few times the Debye length. If the electrons charging the dust grains are relativistic, then the dust may charge to several kilovolts [1]. Field emission, which tends to reduce the negative potential, can be important due to the small size of the particles. The photoelectric effect and the impact of positive ions may actually result in a positive potential of the dust particles.


North America (above) / May 17, 2917          https://go.nasa.gov/2rsSmR4

detail  (above)  /   https://go.nasa.gov/2quwqYe


Space Station Illuminates Dusty Plasmas For A Wide Range of Research

July 2013: One of the most frequently-used physics laboratories on the International Space Station recently completed its final set of experiments. The Plasma Kristall Experiment (PK-3 Plus) lab, a Russian-German cooperation in operation since January 2006, has provided new insight into an unusual type of matter called plasma crystals. Though the experiment runs came to a close on June 14, the research continues to open an exciting world of potential technological spin-offs in medicine, agriculture and general science.

The unique environment of microgravity allows physicists to study how these crystals form inside dusty plasmas–a type of matter with unique properties found everywhere–in ways not possible on Earth.

Plasmas are one of the four states of matter, along with liquid, solid and gas. Complex or “dusty” plasmas get their name from the presence of small solid particles mixed into the plasma’s charged gases. These particles can dramatically change the behavior of a plasma, and sometimes the particles even form crystalline structures. Dusty plasmas are found near artificial satellites, occur in Earth’s upper atmosphere, in interstellar clouds and can be produced in lab settings.

Dusty plasmas are favored by physics researchers because they are relatively easy to control and provide a unique view of physics at the single-particle level. This form of matter can illuminate basic kinetic theory, including how colloids mix, how liquids and solids move and how waves propagate. But in many cases they’re difficult to study in pure form because Earth’s gravity affects the way dust particles settle and how they crystallize. That’s not the case aboard the space station, however.

… Along with illuminating the nature of matter, dusty plasmas have practical applications in space, on Earth and even on other planets. In plasma processing, for instance, removal of microscopic particles grown in the reactive processing plasma is crucial for preventing contamination of computer chips. A deep understanding of how gases and dusty plasmas interact is critical for improving plasma technology. Understanding this interaction could also help scientists create powders containing specific ingredients.



Baja California (above) / May 17, 2017     https://go.nasa.gov/2quLvcB

AFRICA west coast (above) / May 17, 2017    https://go.nasa.gov/2quzaVw

AFRICA west coast (above) / May 17, 2017     https://go.nasa.gov/2quzEuO

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