, Volume 90, Issue 6, pp 444-448,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Structural properties of complex (dusty) plasma upon crystallization and melting


A change in the local order of a bounded complex (dusty) plasma in the process of its crystallization and melting has been examined by molecular dynamics simulations. The dynamics of microparticles is considered in the framework of a Langevin thermostat, the pair interaction between charged particles is described by a screened Coulomb potential (Yukawa potential) with the hard wall potential as a confinement. It has been shown that the beginning of the crystallization of such a system is accompanied by the formation of clusters with the hexagonal close packed (hcp) structure; a noticeable number of these clusters are then transformed to the face centered cubic (fcc) phase. A plasma crystal formed after crystallization consists of the metastable hcp phase, fcc clusters, and a small number of clusters with a body centered cubic (bcc) crystal lattice. Beginning with a certain threshold value of the thermostat temperature, the number of fcc/bcc clusters decreases sharply with increasing temperature, which is an important signature of the beginning of the melting of the plasma crystal.

Original Russian Text © B.A. Klumov, G.E. Morfill, 2009, published in Pis’ma v Zhurnal Éksperimental’noĭ i Teoreticheskoĭ Fiziki, 2009, Vol. 90, No. 6, pp. 489–493.