Observation of Interacting Dust Molecules in Plasma
A dusty plasma consists of an ionized gas (the plasma) with dust particles suspended in it. Dust molecules form when two particles (microspheres) are bound together vertically due to the wake potential. A two-dimensional configuration of two such dust molecules was created in the D.O.N.U.T. (Dusty Ohio Northern University experiment). Experiments were done to determine how the forces acting on these molecules depend on the plasma density. Information about these forces was inferred through observations of particle spacing and thermal fluctuations as rf power was increased.