Complex (dusty) plasmas are found in many natural and man-made environments such as Saturn’s rings, comets, and semiconductor manufacturing. I conducted experiments to study the equilibrium structure of small three-dimensional complex plasma clusters inside a chamber filled with argon at low pressure. The plasma was vertically confined by a radio frequency generated electric field between two electrodes. Horizontal confinement was provided by a glass box situated on the lower electrode. Single particle trajectories of dust particles were analyzed to determine the horizontal confinement. Using a dual CCD camera imaging technique, I determined the three dimensional structure of the complex plasma clusters. Also, I compared these structures with numerical simulations from an N-body model.
Suzannah Wood, ’12
Rio Rancho, NM
Majors: Physics, Chemistry
Vanguard College Preparatory School
Sponsor: Kara Beauchamp