Test Charge Response of a Dusty Plasma with Grain Size Distribution and Charging Dynamics
This doctoral thesis reports analytical and numerical results for the electrostatic response of a dusty plasma to a moving test charge. Two important physical aspects of dusty plasmas, namely grain size distribution and grain charging dynamics were taken into account. In the first case, a dusty plasma in thermal equilibrium and with a distribution of grain sizes is considered. A size distribution is assumed which decreases exponentially with the grain mass for large sizes and gives a simple smooth reduction for small sizes. The electrostatic response to a slowly moving test charge, using a second order approximation is found and the effects of collisions are also investigated. It turns out that for this particular size distribution, there is a remarkably simple result that the resulting effective distribution for the electrostatic response is a kappa (generalized Lorentzian) distribution. In the second case, we present an analytical model for the shielding of a slowly moving test charge in a dusty plasma with dynamical grain charging for cases both with and without the collision effects. The response potential is treated as a power series in test charge velocity. Analytical expressions for the response potential are found up to second order in test charge velocity. The first-order dynamical charging term is shown to be the consequence of the delay in the shielding due to the dynamics of the charging process. It is concluded that the dynamical charging of the grains in a dusty plasma enhances the shielding of a test charge. To clarify the physics, a separate study is made where the charging is approximated by using a time delay. The resulting potential shows the delayed shielding effect explicitly. The terms in the potential that depend on the charging dynamics involve a spatial shift given by the test charge velocity and the charging time. The wake potential of a fast moving test charge in the case of grain charging dynamics was also found. It was observed that the grain charging dynamics leads to a spatial damping and a phase shift in the potential response. Finally, combining these two physical aspects, generalized results for the electrostatic potential were found incorporating the terms from both grain size distribution and grain charging dynamics. The generalized results contain the previous work where these two effects were studied separately and which can now be found as special limiting cases. This kind of work has relevance both in space and astrophysical plasmas.
School:Kungliga Tekniska högskolan
Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation
Keywords:NATURAL SCIENCES; Physics; Geocosmophysics and plasma physics; Plasma physics; Dusty plasmas; Complex plasmas; Grain size distribution; Grain charging dynamics; Lorentzian distribution; Kappa distribution; Test charge response; Delayed shielding; Energy loss; Drag force; Wake field.
Date of Publication:01/01/2006