Indexed on: 29 Jul '08Published on: 29 Jul '08Published in: Plasma Physics Reports
Results from experimental studies of ordered dust structures in plasma are reviewed. The experimental conditions and the data on the grain size and intergrain distance in plasma dust crystals are analyzed. It is shown that intergrain distance is a function of the grain size. The range of the ratio of the dust grain size to the Debye radius within which plasma dust crystals can form is determined. A volume cell surrounding a dust grain in plasma is considered. It is found that the potential and charge of the grain depend substantially on the intergrain distance. The charge, potential, and potential energy of a dust grain in a plasma dust crystal, as well as the electrostatic force exerted by the plasma field on the grain, are calculated by the method of molecular dynamics as functions of the intergrain distance. The corresponding analytic approximations and the criterion for the establishment of a steady-state intergrain distance are proposed.