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Measurement of the charging of individual dust grains in a plasma

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3 Author(s)
B. Walch ; Dept. of Phys., Northern Colorado Univ., Greeley, CO, USA ; M. Horanyi ; S. Robertson

An experiment is described for investigating the charging of dust grains in a plasma. The apparatus is a double plasma device into which single dust grains are dropped from the top. The dust charge is detected and measured by a sensitive electrometer attached to a Faraday cup on the bottom. Experiments with electrons from the emissive filaments but without plasma indicate that the grains charge to approximately the filament potential for filament bias voltages smaller in absolute value than -70 V. The charge is of order 106 electrons for SiC grains 30-150 μm in diameter. At higher bias voltage the charge is reduced due to secondary emission. The charge on grains increases with grain size and is nearly independent of the filament emission current. With plasma in the device, the grains charge both positively and negatively

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science  (Volume:22 ,  Issue: 2 )