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Progress in Plasma Processing of Materials, 2003

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G.V. Paeva
Eindhoven University of Technology, PO Box 513, 5600 MB Eindhoven, The Netherlands

W. W. Stoffels
Eindhoven University of Technology, Department of Applied Physics, P.O.Box 513, DenDolech 2, Eindhoven, the Netherlands

R. P. Dahiya
Centre for Energy Studies, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, New Delhi, India

Eva Stoffels
Department of Physics, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Eindhoven University of Technology, PO Box 513, 5600 MB Eindhoven, The Netherlands.

G. M. W. Kroesen
Department of Applied Physics, Eindhoven University of Technology, P.O. Box 513, 5600 MB Eindhoven, The Netherlands


Voids in dusty plasma are a new phenomenon, which is still not completely understood. In this work we study void formation in the sheath of a radio-frequency (RF) dusty plasma. By injecting micrometer sized dust particles into the plasma, we form a dust cloud in the sheath. The behaviour of the cloud as a function of RF power and gas pressure has been investigated using video imaging. Both dependencies show a threshold for the void formation. This threshold is characterised by a sudden decrease in the inter-particle distance, while in the non-void mode the distance increases with power and pressure. We have performed Langmuir probe measurements of the floating potential in the bulk plasma close to the sheath in order to estimate the form of the potential well trapping the dust grains.