Decoupling of dust cloud and embedding plasma for high electron depletion in nanodusty plasmas

In recent years nanoparticles have become key technological products, e.g., as coatings with tunable optical gap in third generation solar cells, as nanocrystals for photonic applications, and as pharmaceutical nanocarriers. In particle sources, that use reactive, nanodusty plasmas, a high dust density changes the properties of the dusty plasma compared to a dust free plasma considerably, as electron depletion leads to a reduced number of free electrons. This is called the Havnes effect and was central for the understanding of the famous spokes in Saturns rings. We see here, that it is also important for technological applications. Using self excited dust density waves (DDW) as a diagnostic tool, we completely characterize an argon discharge with embedded amorphous hydrocarbon nanoparticles of different size and density. The results show, that electron depletion governs the charge of dust grains, while the size of the particles has only a weak influence. The ion density and electric potential profile are almost independent of both, dust size as well as dust density. This suggests, that the rf generated plasma and the dust cloud seem to coexist and coupling of both is weak.


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