Self-excited converging shock structure in a complex plasma medium

G Arora and S Maity, PHYSICAL REVIEW E, 108, 055209 (2023).

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevE.108.055209

We report the study of a self-excited converging shock structure observed in a complex plasma medium. A high-density dust cloud of melamine formaldehyde particles is created and horizontally confined by a circular ring in a dc glow discharge plasma at a particular discharge voltage and pressure. Later, as the discharge voltage is increased, a circular density crest is spontaneously generated around the outer boundary of the dust cloud. This nonlinear density structure is seen to propagate inward towards the center of the dust cloud. The properties of the excited structure are analyzed and found to follow the characteristics of a converging shock structure. A three-dimensional molecular dynamics simulation has also been performed in which a stable dust cloud is formed and levitated by the balance of forces due to gravity and an external electric field mimicking the cathode sheath electric field in the experiment. Particles are also horizontally confined by an external electric field, representing the sheath electric field of the circular ring present in the experiment. A circular shock structure has been excited by applying an external perturbation in the horizontal electric field around the outer boundary of the dust cloud. The characteristic properties of the shock are analyzed in the simulation and qualitatively compared with the experimental findings. This paper is not only of fundamental interest but has many implications concerning the study of converging shock waves excited in other media for various potential applications.

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