Document Type


Publication Date



Experiments are performed in which dust particles are levitated at varying heights above the powered electrode in a radio frequency plasma discharge by changing the discharge power. The trajectories of particles dropped from the top of the discharge chamber are used to reconstruct the vertical electric force acting on the particles. The resulting data, together with the results from a self-consistent fluid model, are used to determine the lower levitation limit for dust particles in the discharge and the approximate height above the lower electrode where quasineutrality is attained, locating the sheath edge. These results are then compared with current sheath models. It is also shown that particles levitated within a few electron Debye lengths of the sheath edge are located outside the linearly increasing portion of the electric field.

Publication Title

Physics of Plasmas

Publisher Statement

Copyright 2012 by the American Institute of Physics.

The following article appeared in Douglass, A., Land, V., Qiao, K., Matthews, L., & Hyde, T. (2012). Determination of the levitation limits of dust particles within the sheath in complex plasma experiments. Physics Of Plasmas, 19(1), 013707. doi:10.1063/1.3677360 and may be found at



This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use required prior permission for the author and AIP Publishing.

Included in

Physics Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.