Charge of clustered microparticles measured in spatial plasma afterglows follows the smallest enclosing sphere model

B. van Minderhout (Corresponding author), J.C.A. van Huijstee, R.M.H. Rompelberg, A. Post, A.T.A. Peijnenburg, P. Blom, J. Beckers

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The plasma-induced charge of non-spherical microparticles is a crucial parameter in complex plasma physics, aerosol science and astrophysics. Yet, the literature describes this charge by two competing models, neither of which has been experimentally verified or refuted. Here we offer experimental proof that the charge on a two-particle cluster (doublet) in the spatial afterglow of a low-pressure plasma equals the charge that would be obtained by the smallest enclosing sphere and that it should therefore not be based on its geometrical capacitance but rather on the capacitance of its smallest enclosing sphere. To support this conclusion, the size, mass and charge of single particles (singlets) and doublets are measured with high precision. The measured ratio between the plasma-afterglow-induced charges on doublets and singlets is compared to both models and shows perfect agreement with the predicted ratio using the capacitance of the smallest enclosing sphere, while being significantly dissimilar to the predicted ratio based on the particle’s geometrical capacitance.

Originele taal-2Engels
Aantal pagina's7
TijdschriftNature Communications
Nummer van het tijdschrift1
StatusGepubliceerd - 3 aug 2021

Bibliografische nota

Funding Information:
This study received financial support from VDL Enabling Technologies Group. The authors are grateful to Pieter Sanders, Ab Schrader, Jürgen Kohlhepp, and Beatriz Bar-cones Campo for their technical support and the authors thank Gerrit Kroesen, Luuk Berkelaar, Kaspar van den Broek, and Dmitri Shestakov for the fruitful discussions.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).


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