Complex (Dusty) Plasma Research under Microgravity Conditions: PK-3 Plus Laboratory on the International Space Station

DOI:10.15011/ijmsa.32.320302
Int. J. Microgravity Sci. Appl. 2015p320302
Author
V.I. MOLOTKOV, H.M. THOMAS, A.M. LIPAEV, V.N. NAUMKIN, A.V. IVLEV and S.A. KHRAPAK
Organization
Joint Institute of High Temperatures, Russian Academy of Sciences, Forschungsgruppe Komplexe Plasmen, Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik
Abstract
Complex (dusty) plasma research under microgravity conditions complements the research in the laboratory. Due to reduction of the main force on microparticles in the lab — gravity — it is possible to form complex plasmas in the bulk region of plasmas in homogeneous large 3D systems and to investigate other phenomena than those accessible on Earth in detail. Therefore, PK-3 Plus was operated as a long-term microgravity facility from 2006 to 2013 on the International Space Station ISS. It was perfectly suited for the formation of large stable liquid and crystalline systems and provided interesting insights into processes like crystallisation and melting, laning and phase separation in binary mixtures, electrorheological effects due to ac electric fields and projectile interaction with a strongly coupled complex plasma cloud.
Keyword(s)
Complex plasma, Plasma crystal, Phase transition, Mach cone, Electrorheological effect, Microgravity
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Received 31 January 2015; Accepted 10 February 2015; Published 31 April 2015

© The Japan Society of Microgravity Applicaiton

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