Ultracold neutral plasmas

Thomas C. Killian and Steven L. Rolston Citation: Phys. Today 63(3), 46 (2010); doi: 10.1063/1.3366240 View online: http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.3366240 View Table of Contents: http://www.physicstoday.org/resource/1/PHTOAD/v63/i3 Published by the American Institute of Physics.

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in which many usual rules and approximations no longer apply. and they allow re- searchers to explore the boundary between traditional plasmas and those in which spatial correlations and so-called strong coupling become important. As more electrons leave. so in the first few nanoseconds after the laser pulse. Plasmas created in the laboratory are used to replicate and study those that occur naturally and to probe the fundamental and complex behavior of plasmas. But in the past decade. Several surprising new phenomena have already been revealed. 46 March 2010 Physics Today ELECTRON POTENTIAL ENERGY © 2010 American Institute of Physics. Thomas Killian is an associate professor in the department of physics and astronomy at Rice University in Houston. the remaining electrons are unable to leave. which is typically 1–100 K but can be tuned as high as 1000 K. such as collective modes and thermalization. ultracold neutral plasmas extend the temperature range of neutral and quasi-neutral plasmas by two orders of magnitude. t0 t1 t2 the electrons carry almost all of the excess energy. some electrons escape from Potential the cloud. The much heavier ions start with kinetic energies close to those of the original neutral particles. The low temperature and well-controlled creation process also allow experimenters to cleanly demonstrate classic phenomena of plasma physics. which is typically 1 mm across and has a density on the order of 1010 cm−3 for lasercooled atoms and up to 1014 cm−3 for molecular beams. Despite the plasma’s slight charge. With electron and ion temperatures as low as 1 K. electrons are liberated from their atoms. They exist in an extraordinary variety of environments and span a great range of densities and temperatures. Plasmas are collections of charged particles that can exhibit an impressively diverse set of collective phenomena. Killian and Steven L. How ultracold plasmas form When a cloud of laser-cooled atoms is struck by a pulse of light tuned just above the ionization threshold (at t0 in the figure). researchers still call it a neutral plasma to distinguish it from plasmas containing only ions or only electrons. Box 1. Texas. Even at 1 K. They can find application in lighting sources. When the well depth equals the kinetic energy of the electrons (which typically happens when a few percent of the electrons have escaped). A 10-ns laser pulse tuned near the ionization threshold creates the plasma. electrons have very high thermal velocity.Ultracold neutral plasmas feature Thomas C. The remaining plasma has a slight posiwells tive charge. Steve Rolston is a professor of physics and a codirector of the Joint Quantum Institute at the University of Maryland. Rolston By ionizing cold atoms or molecules with a laser. from 15 million kelvin in the core of the Sun to 200 K in the ionosphere and from 1030 particles per cubic centimeter in a white dwarf to 1 particle per cm3 in interstellar space. which creates a potential well (at t1) that the next electrons must overcome if they are to escape. Plasmas tend to be hot. the well gets deeper (t2). The electron energy equals the excess photon energy above the ionization threshold and can be tuned from about 1 K to 1000 K. From simple kinematics. a new laboratory plasma has emerged on the scene—the ultracold neutral plasma. College Park. because collisional energies of 1 eV or higher are required to ionize atoms and molecules. manufacturing of computer chips. The ultracold plasma then expands at 50–100 m/s due to the outward pressure of the electrons on the ions. S-0031-9228-1003-330-9 . Such a cold initial sample is created by laser cooling of atoms or cooling of molecules seeded in a supersonic beam. researchers get a glimpse of one of nature’s extreme regimes. As described in box 1. and fusion energy research. ultracold neutral plasmas are formed through ionization of atoms or molecules that have been cooled well below 1 K.

in which harmonics of the cyclotron frequency couple to the electron motion driven by E × B drift. units) ELECTRONS EMITTED (arb. Langmuir oscillations are detected in ultracold plasmas by remotely collecting the electrons that escape from the plasma when energy is resonantly pumped into it. λD = √ε0kbT/ne2. controlling. The magnetic field magnetizes the electrons. and especially at low temperature. Black curves show the typical smooth signal in no magnetic field. and the blue curves are averages over 40 realizations.org tribution were instrumental in the observation of collective modes beyond the fundamental Langmuir oscillations. In recent experiments by one of us (Rolston) and coworkers at the University of Maryland. the excitation spectrum provides information about properties such as the electron density. For example. and as is common with plasmas. The Debye length at the center of an ultracold plasma is about a micron. where T is the temperature and n is the density. so understanding.physicstoday. or wave motions. In a traditional plasma. so that their cyclotron orbits are smaller than the plasma itself. it emits electrons not continuously but in pulses. A closely related manifestation of the same condition is that all but a few percent of electrons in an ultracold plasma are trapped by the collective positive charge of the ions. a system of charged particles becomes a plasma when collective motions and responses to external perturbations become organized and dominate over the behavior of individual particles. which changes the oscillation into a sound wave. there is no obvious outer turning point. the resonant mode frequencies and wavelengths are determined by an outer boundary such as the metallic wall that confines the plasma. and eliminating them is critical. But in an ultracold plasma freely expanding into vacuum. The cause of the bursts was identified as a highfrequency drift instability. But in the small ultracold plasma. (The ions remain unmagnetized because they are so much more massive. Collective modes in plasmas are often unstable. An ad hoc choice of an outer turning point of three times the plasma root-mean-square size gave good agreement with a Tonks–Dattner model. But that approach is practically impossible for ultracold systems. Ultracold plasmas also are susceptible to instabilities. the length scale of wave motion must also be small. When an ultracold plasma is subjected to crossed electric and magnetic fields.2 In the usual Tonks–Dattner situation. charges in a plasma must be able to rearrange themselves to screen electric fields from penetrating significantly into the system. Another characteristic of plasmas is a rich spectrum of collective modes. the inner boundary is the point in the inhomogeneous density where the wave becomes evanescent and can no longer propagate. The first collective mode seen in an ultracold plasma (and the first collective mode presented in virtually every plasma physics textbook) was the Langmuir oscillation. Qualitatively. An ionized gas sample that is too small or too dilute to satisfy that condition does not display complex behavior and can be described with much simpler physics. Usual phenomena in an unusual plasma Not every ionized gas is a plasma.8 G E = 10 mV/cm 5 B=2G 4 3 2 1 0 −1 2 Single shot 1 No B 0 Average of 40 shots −1 0 50 100 TIME (µs) 150 200 0 50 100 TIME (µs) 150 200 Figure 1.) Because an ultracold plasma’s electrons have so little thermal March 2010 Physics Today 47 . We identified them as standing electron sound waves. because the plasmas are so small and because heating would result from a connection to the outside environment. electron-density oscillations such as the Langmuir oscillation are detected by inserting an electrical probe into the plasma. similar to the so-called Tonks–Dattner resonances in traditional plasmas. In other work at the University of Maryland. a commonly stated formal requirement for a plasma is that its size must be much greater than λD so screening can be effective. instabilities can rob the plasma of the energy necessary for sustained fusion. a signature of a plasma instability.3 ELECTRONS EMITTED (arb. an oscillation of the electron density at the electron plasma frequency. The small plasma size and inhomogeneous density diswww. E and B. Each red curve (offset for clarity) is the signal from a single plasma realization. They can grow exponentially in oscillation amplitude until they become so large that they destroy the plasma or nonlinear effects start to limit the growth. Normally. and the dynamics are significantly altered. In the pursuit of fusion power. An ultracold plasma instability. and the plasma remains quasi-neutral with small internal electric fields over some 100 μs as it expands into the surrounding vacuum. units) B = 0. an ultracold plasma subjected to crossed electric and magnetic fields emitted periodic bursts of electrons.1 The mode can be excited by an RF electric field. so the requirement is satisfied. electron waves are local density oscillations and do not propagate like sound. as shown in figure 1. but a rigorous description of the mode structure of such a boundaryless system is still an open problem. a series of resonances were observed at radio frequencies above the Langmuir oscillation. The length scale for screening is the Debye length.

full simulations have been able to capture only the first few hundred nanoseconds after plasma creation. The criterion nλD3 > 1 also ensures that charged-particle interactions are dominated by many weak interactions with far-away neighbors rather than isolated collisions between local pairs. PHYSICS TODAY. such as treating electrons as a smooth neutralizing background for ions. The thermodynamics of open systems also arises in both cases. (See the Quick Study by Mark Cappelli. They include dusty plasmas of highly charged macroscopic particles and nonneutral trapped ion plasmas that are laser cooled until they freeze into solidlike Wigner crystals (see PHYSICS TODAY. the plasma undergoes a first-order phase transition to a state displaying long-range order characteristic of a solid (right panel). densities. To model physics at longer time scales. Thus neither system can achieve equilibrium. the ratio of Coulomb energy to thermal energy.energy. So far. white-dwarf stars. page 17). The nature of the interactions has Box 2. have pointed out the similarity between the dynamics of particles in an ultracold plasma and the dynamics of stars in a globular cluster. recombination in ultracold plasmas—the collision of two electrons and one ion to yield an energetic electron and a bound. electron–ion collisions and recombination cannot be treated exactly. or that the coupling constant. Strongly coupled plasmas The condition for strong coupling. which describes the velocities of stars in a cluster. such as plasmas created by intense laser irradiation of solid targets. Computational methods that reproduce the data well can then be applied to more complicated systems. Ultracold plasmas have also proven to be a good testing ground for molecular dynamics simulations.3 Ultracold plasmas offer the opportunity—unavailable in the study of galaxies—to probe the underlying physics through direct detection of the evaporating electrons and control of the confining potential. for quantum-degenerate fermions.physicstoday. (The coupling constant Γ equals q2/4πε0akBT. because the motion of tightly bound pairs is much faster than the drift of individual particles. which may have different charges. highly excited atom or molecule—is analogous to binary-star formation: Some binaries form through the interaction of three stars. In plasmas with multiple components. For example. with the extra body carrying away the binary binding energy. or spatial ordering. But under that approximation. as illustrated in the left panel (ions are shown in blue and electrons in red). Several authors. The presence of spatial correlation. and temperatures. q is the charge of each particle. they can serve as benchmarks for molecular dynamics simulations. 48 March 2010 Physics Today www.) Strongly coupled plasmas appear in extreme environments. exceeds 1. The concept of strong coupling can also be used to describe electrons in metals and excitons in semiconductors. When Γ > 1. Both the electrons in an ultracold plasma and the stars in a globular cluster are trapped in a potential well of finite depth. each component has its own coupling constant. which has been used in hundreds of Russian spacecraft and is being evaluated as an option in US spacecraft. has been suggested as the correct description for ultracold plasmas as well. that is. such as the interiors of gas giant planets. since the relevant time scales for motion of the ions and electrons can differ by six orders of magnitude. the fields necessary to see the instability are exceedingly small (1 G and 10 mV/cm) compared with those required for more energetic plasmas. Weakly coupled systems (Γ < 1) show gaseous (or essentially no) correlations. nλD3 < 1. and a quasi-equilibrium state is established. and matter irradiated with intense laser fields.) Surprising connections between ultracold plasmas arise with rather disparate fields of physics.4–6 Simulating any plasma is a difficult computational challenge. France. April 2009. September 1988. where a = (3/4πn)1/3 is the Wigner–Seitz radius. such as Pierre Pillet and Daniel Comparat at the Laboratoire Aimé Cotton in Orsay. The Michie–King distribution. But the rate of escape eventually slows down. nλD3 > 1. researchers must make approximations. to the statement that the Coulomb interaction energy between neighboring particles exceeds the average kinetic energy. during which local thermal equilibrium is established and recombination begins.org . Strong coupling Most elementary plasma textbooks restrict their attentions to systems whose Debye lengths are larger than their typical interparticle spacings. The same instability also occurs in a plasma-based propulsion device called the Hall thruster. and Debye screening of one charge type by another may modify the values of Γ at which phase transitions occur. the thermal energy would be replaced with the Fermi energy. Since ultracold plasmas can be precisely controlled and accurately monitored. between particles is central to the physics of strong coupling. and at Γ = 172. since collisions can always promote electrons or stars above the energy needed to escape. is mathematically equivalent. up to a constant of order unity. The very idea of Debye shielding—that charges redistribute themselves to screen electric fields on the length scale of λD—is hard to picture when the probability of finding any charge within a volume λD3 becomes small. and T is the temperature. page 76. in which diagnostics are more challenging because of their fast collisional time scales. Care must be taken in both systems to describe dynamics on different time scales. liquidlike short-range correlations appear as particles feel and avoid their near neighbors (middle panel).

10 and it greatly simplifies the statistical description of many-body systems. as shown in figure 2. Their potential energy decreases while their kinetic energy increases. or even antiparticles. the plasma experiences rapid disorder-induced heating as the ions’ excess potential energy is converted into kinetic energy. When ions are created. Electrons in ultracold plasmas seem to remain weakly coupled. PHYSICS TODAY. The results are applicable to other laser-produced plasmas.9 The ions. and the Vlasov equations describe the evolution of the plasma’s one-particle position and momentum distribution functions. strong coupling occurs at low density. shortrange interactions that are critical when λD is smaller than the distance between particles. Systems of charged particles with high density or low temperature can have nλD3 < 1 and still be plasmas in the sense that they are clearly dominated by collective behavior.7 But when nλD3 < 1. is capped at between 1 and 10. and the system can undergo a phase transition to a liquidlike or even solidlike state. Thereafter. but they have a large excess of potential energy because their spatial positions are completely uncorrelated: Some ions are created close to other ions. ions move under the influence of forces from nearby ions. Disorder-induced heating also limits the minimum temperature. July 2004.11 Nonneutral plasmas consist of a single charge species.0 TIME AFTER IONIZATION (µs) Figure 2. which embodies the correlation between the motion of one particle and that of its neighbors. which was described in seminal calculations by Lev Landau and Lyman Spitzer.5 1. Equilibration dynamics in an ultracold plasma. which puts the ions in the liquid state. and thus the degree of coupling. such as hydrodynamics and the Vlasov equations. neglecting binary collisions. and the ion spacing becomes more regular. February 1999. Because ultracold plasmas are formed in a well-defined nonequilibrium state. start with much less energy and do not suffer from recombination heating. For ions in ultracold plasmas. ions. Dusty plasmas are formed by the charging of March 2010 Physics Today 49 . On a time scale of the inverse ion plasma frequency. raising the ion temperature by about 1 K.org 1. That disorder-induced heating would be insignificant if the system were not strongly coupled. Theoretical studies suggest that similar dynamics www. The system’s temperature is lowered by cyclotron radiation or by laser cooling. about 1 μs. such as electrons. as described in box 2. Ions have very little kinetic energy.8 As a plasma becomes strongly coupled. As the ions settle into their wells. usually equilibrates much faster than the single-particle velocity distribution function.implications for the rate of collisional thermalization of a plasma out of equilibrium. page 24) and dusty plasmas (see the article by Robert Merlino and John Goree. that can be found in a laser-produced plasma after equilibrium. they have been particularly useful for probing the way strongly coupled plasmas approach equilibrium.0 1. such as those formed by laser implosion of inertial confinement fusion pellets. so a simplifying separation is no longer possible. In ultracold systems. as shown in the inset. which embodies the system’s temperature. The two-particle velocity distribution function. Hydrodynamics treats the plasma as a continuous fluid. primarily because they are heated by recombination collisions.5 2. they inherit the spatial and velocity distributions from the very cold and essentially noninteracting neutral atoms. The unusual behavior of strongly coupled ultracold plasmas arises because each ion feels a caging potential from its neighbors. That behavior is fundamentally different from the everyday experience with systems that are initially out of equilibrium. such as a cup of hot coffee left standing too long. The condition for strong coupling in a Coulomb system is equivalent to the statement that the equilibration time scales have become equal. The first indication of previously unseen equilibration dynamics for ions in ultracold plasmas was a rapid heating in the first microsecond after photoionization reported independently by one of us (Killian) and by Scott Bergeson and coworkers at Brigham Young University. which are so dense that their equilibration is difficult to study. so they have a large Coulomb interaction energy. In that sense. because the released potential energy would be negligible compared with the thermal energy. Close inspection of the data on disorder-induced heating reveals that the average kinetic energy overshoots and oscillates before settling into equilibrium. In the first 0. spatial correlations develop between the particles. in which the average kinetic energy monotonically approaches its limit. the coupling constant Γ. Neither picture can describe the discreteness and strong.5 μs after ionization. Such plasmas are called “strongly coupled” because the Coulomb interaction energy between neighboring particles exceeds the average kinetic energy (a criterion equivalent to nλD3 < 1 up to a constant of order unity). however. kinetic-energy oscillations are universal to equilibration in strongly coupled systems in which the plasma oscillation frequency is a universal time scale. so they do cross into the strongly coupled regime. which slows the equilibration time scale to a manageable few microseconds.5 Time 0 0 0. defined as the ratio of Coulomb energy to thermal energy (see box 2).5 ION KINETIC ENERGY (K) 1. PHYSICS TODAY. Studies of strong coupling in ultracold neutral plasmas complement work done on trapped nonneutral plasmas (see the article by Thomas O’Neil. the approximations normally used to describe Debye shielding and collisional thermalization become invalid.0 0. the kinetic energy exhibits damped oscillations about its equilibrium value as the cloud of ions settles into its potential-energy minimum and adopts a liquidlike short-range order. Many phenomena emerge that cannot be captured with standard theoretical tools. confined by large magnetic fields in Penning traps or particle beams. page 32). the whole system undergoes heavily damped but observable oscillations about equilibrium.physicstoday. short-range spatial correlations develop. That relationship is known as the Bogoliubov hierarchy. should occur during laser irradiation of solid targets. and it is probably not initially at that potential’s local minimum. Why that phenomenon is not seen in other systems can be explained using language from statistical mechanics.

In fact. which can add or subtract thermal energy. where Γ can easily exceed 200. The two oppositely charged single-component plasmas are then overlapped to create an ultracold neutral antimatter plasma. they are so-called guiding-center atoms. each system has its own characteristics. the samples cool to about 4 K. positrons are tightly bound to the magnetic field lines. Nonneutral plasmas are invariably strongly magnetized.13 In 2002 two collaborations. As a result of such radically altered dynamics. (Antihydrogen formed at high energies in a beam had been detected six years earlier. they ionize even more atoms. atoms produced by three-body recombination collisions are formed in highly excited Rydberg states. which had the added benefit of confirming that the atoms were formed in the expected Rydberg states. further collisions and radiation will probably drive it to the ground state. page 14. (See PHYSICS TODAY. Thomas Gallagher at the University of Virginia and Pillet and coworkers have shown that strong attractive interactions between the highly polarizable Rydberg atoms lead to ionizing collisions. in which the positrons slowly drift around the antiprotons while rapidly circling with small Larmor radii.physicstoday. Precision tests of CPT symmetry (charge conjugation. Rydberg atoms In any plasma.12 Such molecular plasmas are orders of magnitude more dense than those made from laser-cooled atoms. It was recognized in 1988 that three-body recombination. Rydberg atoms are copiously produced in ultracold plasmas. with its T−9/2 scaling. Much effort has focused on understanding and harnessing the recombination dynamics to make ground-state antihydrogen atoms. A notable exception is the antimatter plasmas at the heart of low-energy antihydrogen research. (See PHYSICS TODAY. and time reversal) and the gravitational acceleration of antimatter require cold antihydrogen. or it can radiatively decay to a more tightly bound state. as estimated through plasma expansion studies. nitrogen monoxide molecules in a supersonic beam. The avalanche ionization approach to forming an ultra50 March 2010 Physics Today . Their electrons. Once electrons begin to get trapped by Coulomb attraction to the ions. but the process is quite complex and is further complicated by the strong magnetic field. The positron undergoes cyclotron motion with small Larmor radius. Whereas some aspects of strong coupling are universal.) ATHENA detected the antihydrogen from its annihilation on trap walls—neutral antihydrogen atoms are not confined by the fields of the Penning trap. and the highly charged particles are cooled by collisions with the background neutral gas. What exactly is different about the molecular plasma that allows strongly coupled electrons is an open question. so their transport properties are anisotropic. Collisions also look much different: When a guiding-center atom collides with a free positron. the overall three-body collision rate may be about an order of magnitude slower than the field-free rate. and the resulting avalanche creates a plasma. in which they are subject to a large magnetic field (see the Quick Study by Gerald Gabrielse on page 68 of this issue). p Antimatter plasmas Most ultracold plasmas are produced by lasers. A classical trajectory of a positron in an antihydrogen Rydberg atom in a strong magnetic field. but bad because the atoms were stuck in high-lying quantum states and could not immediately be used in precision spectroscopic measurements. November 2002. January 2003. observed low-energy antihydrogen. unlike those in atomic systems. parity. the free positron and the bound positron tend to switch places. as shown in figure 3. The energy carried away by the third body in the collision heats the plasma significantly. micron-sized particles in a weakly ionized gas. In zero field.org Figure 3.14 The ATRAP fieldionization results showed that the antihydrogen atoms were www. bounces back and forth along a field line. and atoms that form are not the simple highly excited Bohr atoms familiar from quantum textbooks. The formation of solidlike Wigner crystals and the spectrum of collective modes have been studied in both types of plasmas. but the overall temperature evolution also depends on subsequent collisions between the Rydberg atoms and the plasma electrons. ATHENA and ATRAP. the distinction between a dense gas of cold Rydberg atoms and a plasma is tenuous. it can be driven to higher or lower principal quantum number through electron collisions. The complicated motion alters the dynamics of an antimatter plasma containing such atoms.cold plasma has recently been applied to molecules— specifically.) The ATRAP result was both good news and bad news—good in that antihydrogen did indeed form by recombination. Researchers have discovered that dense clouds of Rydberg atoms—created by tuning the excitation laser from slightly above to slightly below the ionization threshold—spontaneously evolve into ultracold plasmas. which may reionize the atom or increase or decrease the binding energy. To achieve that goal. The fate of any one Rydberg atom in an ultracold plasma is uncertain: It can be reionized. In a 5-T magnetic field. recombination involves not a single collision but a series of collisions. If the atom reaches a low enough principal quantum number. And since the recombination rate scales as T−9/2. page 17. preferably confined to a trap. The motions of microparticles in dusty plasmas are influenced and damped by the neutral background gas. Rather. An atom is formed with a small binding energy and is buffeted by electrons. which produce electrons that ionize other Rydberg atoms. experimenters at the antiproton decelerator facility at CERN capture antiprotons and positrons in separate Penning traps. and drifts around the antiproton. still subject to a magnetic field on the order of a few tesla.) ATRAP observed antihydrogen by field ionization and detection of the resulting charged particles. might be an efficient mechanism for antihydrogen formation in ultracold antimatter plasmas. Through cyclotron radiation or thermalization with trapped electrons. and they obviously lack any recombination processes. appear to be cold enough (a few kelvin) to be strongly coupled.

1227 (2005). G. Amsterdam (1962). Rep. Kuzmin. Lett. Although no one has yet made a proton–electron ultracold plasma. J. Lett. de Boer. Phys. As experiment and theory explore this new playground at the boundary of plasma physics. Mazevet. 2. Lett. Ultracold plasmas are also being investigated as a bright electron or ion source for applications such as ion milling. Rev. Rev. L. 425501 (2008). T. 034802 (2009). S. antimatter does have certain advantages. Collins. trans. microscopy. Kulin et al. Rev. 81. P. 7. Phys. 1279 (1991). J. D. Phys. 205005 (2008). Their system may provide a recombination testing ground that can be of use to the antihydrogen community. Reijnders et al. 055002 (2002). A. Lett. Rev. S. 13. Mon. 75. M. 10. Phys. Killian et al. E. E. Not. Further theoretical work revealed the complexity of atom formation in high fields. O’Neil. 11. 318 (2000). Gabrielse. Hanson. P. Mod. A. Rev. 6. C. Glinsky. 5. Phys. E. Phys. S. Kress. 361. J. D. Fluids B 3. Landau. New York (1956). G. Rev. Rev. Phys. D.traveling faster than expected and that the number of atoms ionized scaled with the ionizing field in an unanticipated way. G. they display a broad range of phenomena of interest to many sectors of physics. L. 449. G. L. Balaraman. Gross.. many more discoveries will surely come.. 38 (1988). Rev. Gabrielse et al. and seeding free-electron lasers. Phys. Bogoliubov. 203 (1937). vol. Phys.. R.15 One can wonder whether it would make more sense to study the recombination physics of magnetized plasmas using matter—protons and electrons—rather than the much more expensive antimatter. M. J. M. Soc. Ultracold plasmas are a good system for studying heat transport and global thermal equilibration in strongly coupled plasmas.. S. Lett. 12. Bohm. Recent experiments with molecular plasmas demonstrate new phenomena such as dissociative recombination and suggest that thermalization of ions with the cold background gas in the supersonic expansion could yield larger values of the coupling constant Γ. Lett. D. p. Morrison et al. 14. We acknowledge Georg Raithel for conceptual input regarding figure 3. E. Although hard to come by. Astron. in Studies in Statistical Mechanics. 4. T. 15. ■ Future directions As the relatively young field of ultracold plasmas continues to grow. 88. Sadeghpour. G. Rev. References 1. JETP 7. 102. Pohl. Mod. Ivlev. Lett. L. Phys. 16. 54. S. 9. G. with the electron orbits becoming chaotic for more tightly bound atoms. 3. K. Morfill. D. A 129. Monte Carlo simulations showed that a significant charge-exchange process was occurring and the guiding-center atom approach was starting to break down. 065003 (2002). R. 1851 (1949). N. Phys. Uhlenbeck. O’Neil. 055001 (2002). work continues on many fronts.. Vrinceanu.. Interscience. 88. T. simple systems. Phys. 8. A. A 41. 143401 (2006). 88. M. Phys. such as easy detection through the annihilation products. Robicheaux. 85. F. 1017 (1982). Physics of Fully Ionized Gases.. N. 101. Gora. Collins. 77 (2007). Georg Raithel and colleagues have produced a rubidium ultracold plasma in nested Penning traps at high magnetic field. Rev. Lett. North-Holland. E. Phys. Ichimaru. 1353 (2009). P.16 Although ultracold plasmas are in many ways extremely . 1. 97. Spitzer. D. V. Researchers have learned a tremendous amount by studying classical plasma concepts and by probing the effects of correlations and strong coupling. Comparat et al. J. 1. eds. We acknowledge Anthony Chan and Daniel Vrinceanu for helpful discussions. T. H.

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