Indexed on: 01 Jul '04Published on: 01 Jul '04Published in: Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Physics
We have studied the charging of dust particles in a dense photoresonant sodium plasma with electron and ion densities as high as 1016 cm−3 produced by laser pumping of the resonance level of Na, which was a small admixture (up to 1%) in an argon buffer gas. We show that the charge of dust particles with a radius of 10 mm at maximum reaches 3 × 105 electron charges and that the potential of the dust particles at a low electron bulk loss rate agrees well with the orbital motion limited (OML) model data. The behavior of the electric field near a dust particle was found to be nonmonotonic. We established that the distribution of the potential near a solitary charged dust particle agrees well with the Debye one, but the screening length proves to be much larger than even the electron Debye length; the discrepancies are largest at the afterglow stage of the photoresonant plasma, when the sodium ion with a low recombination coefficient is the main plasma ion. We determined the domain of parameters for a dense plasma where an ensemble of dust particles can crystallize.