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Plasma Physics | Dusty Plasmas

Physics of complex "dusty" plasmas

A “complex plasma” is a “normal” electron-ion plasma with an additional charged component of small (typically, micron-sized) particles. The extra component significantly increases the complexity of the system and is responsible for the name “complex plasma”.

Exceptional features of complex plasmas:

  • The microparticle component can be visualized easily, allowing research at the most fundamental (the kinetic) level;
  • The plasma dynamics is slowed down.
  • The physics of collective processes is observable in “slow motion”;
  • Liquid and crystalline plasma states as well as kinetics of phase transitions can be investigated;
  • The combination of plasma technology and colloid technology opens up new horizons in manufacturing and processing

Current Research Areas

  1. Fundamentals of a complex plasma
  2. Complex plasmas in laboratory and nature
  3. Applications of a complex plasma
  4. Nonlinear plasma waves and solitons
  5. Wave-particle and wave-wave interactions


Dr T. van der Straaten (Visiting Scientist)
Dr S. Vladimirov (Australian Professorial Fellow)
Dr K. Ostrikov (QEII Fellow)
Dr H.J. Yoon (Postdoctoral Fellow)
Mr S. Barkby (Vacation Student)
Mr Tim Olshansky (Vacation Student)



Figure 1.
Dust cloud in a Star-birth region.

Figure 2.
Dust cloud in Saturn ring spokes.

Figure 3. MD s imulations of plasma wakes of one and two charged dust particles.


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