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Charged dust particles electrostatically trapped in rf plasmas may exhibit kinetic energies greatly exceeding that of the surrounding gas. The high particle energies are a result of charged particle interactions with local potential fields perturbed by the presence of neighboring particles. Laser Doppler velocimetry is used to experimentally investigate the two-dimensional dynamics of monodisperse 10.2 μm polystyrene latex spherical particles trapped in an argon plasma. Spatially resolved particle velocities and local particle concentrations are reported for variations in rf power and pressure. The experimental results are compared with laser light scatter, often employed for studying particle dynamics. Various theories are reviewed in an attempt to interpret the experimental results. © 1999 American Institute of Physics.