Ideal Gas Law works for soft crystals

less than 1 minute read


Working with folk from my old stomping ground at the University of Liverpool, we discovered in the laboratory that a two-dimensional dusty plasma can be adequately described using the ideal gas law - even when shock waves are excited to melt the dust crystal.

The title and abstract are below, but you can read all about it in Physical Review Letters via DOI 10.1103/PhysRevLett.111.015002 (or for free at arXiv:1212.1209).

Ideal Gas Behavior of a Strongly Coupled Complex (Dusty) Plasma

N.P. Oxtoby, E.J. Griffith, C. Durniak, J.F. Ralph, and D. Samsonov

In a laboratory, a two-dimensional complex (dusty) plasma consists of a low-density ionized gas containing a confined suspension of Yukawa-coupled plastic microspheres. For an initial crystal-like form, we report ideal gas behaviour in this strongly coupled system during shock-wave experiments. This evidence supports the use of the ideal gas law as the equation of state for soft crystals such as those formed by dusty plasmas.