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Author Sheridan, T. E. ♦ Wells, K. D.
Source arXiv.org
Content type Text
File Format PDF
Date of Submission 2009-12-08
Language English
Subject Domain (in DDC) Computer science, information & general works ♦ Natural sciences & mathematics ♦ Physics
Subject Keyword Physics - Plasma Physics ♦ physics:physics
Abstract We investigate the one- to two-dimensional zigzag transition in clusters consisting of a small number of particles interacting through a Yukawa (Debye) potential and confined in a two-dimensional biharmonic potential well. Dusty (complex) plasma clusters with $n \le 19$ monodisperse particles are characterized experimentally for two different confining wells. The well anisotropy is accurately measured, and the Debye shielding parameter is determined from the longitudinal breathing frequency. Debye shielding is shown to be important. A model for this system is used to predict equilibrium particle configurations. The experiment and model exhibit excellent agreement. The critical value of $n$ for the zigzag transition is found to be less than that predicted for an unshielded Coulomb interaction. The zigzag transition is shown to behave as a continuous phase transition from a one-dimensional to a two-dimensional state, where the state variables are the number of particles, the well anisotropy and the Debye shielding parameter. A universal critical exponent for the zigzag transition is identified for transitions caused by varying the Debye shielding parameter.
Educational Use Research
Learning Resource Type Article
Page Count 19


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