Plasma forces on microparticles on a surface: an experimental investigation

L.C.J. Heijmans, T.W.C. Neelis, D.P.J. van Leuken, A. Bouchut, S. Nijdam

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A plasma causes a force on particles on a surface. We quantitatively measure this force by means of two different setups, which use different methods to balance the forces on these particles: one using vibrations, the other a centrifuge. From this, we deduce both the adhesion that sticks the particles to the surface, and how the application of a plasma affects the adhesion of the particles. We show that the plasma alters the force balance on 100 µm diameter particles with a force in the order of micronewtons. We can conclude, from both additional experiments and comparison to theory, that the main plasma effect is not an electrostatic force on a charged particle; its magnitude is orders of magnitude larger than what would be expected from electrostatic theory. The plasma likely has an effect on the particle adhesion, possibly caused by evaporation of water.
Original languageEnglish
Article number075010
Number of pages12
JournalPlasma Sources Science and Technology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2017


  • Plasma
  • adhesion
  • dust
  • force
  • particles


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