Science Seminars

5/24/2009 – Self-organising plasmas – new fundamental physics and applications

Speaker: Gregor Morfill, Max-Planck Institut für extraterrestrische Physik Germany
Date: Thursday, May 14, 2009
Time: 4:00pm
Location: None

Seminar Abstract:

”Self-organising plasmas” – or “complex plasmas” consist of electrons, ions and charged microparticles. The charged microparticles can be visualised individually, allowing full kinetic access to the plasma distribution function for the first time. Complex plasmas can self-organise spontaneously to assume liquid and even crystalline states – these are new states of “soft matter”, which were discovered in 1994. New fundamental physics can be investigated with these systems, e.g. non-Hamiltonian thermodynamics, development of cooperative behaviour in strongly coupled systems, kinetic onset of turbulence in fluids, the particle distribution function at the critical point, the approach(es) to equilibrium, kinetic trigger(s) of instabilities and phase transitions, growth of crystallisation fronts etc..

The basic information on particle-plasma, particle-particle interactions and transport can be usefully employed in diverse fields, such as dust in fusion reactors, plasma processing and self-assembly, plasma-biophysics, plasma-medicine, astrophysics, solar system research, environmental topics and bio-hazards.

The talk aims to give an overview with experimental examples on some of these topics.