Colloquium: fundamentals of dust-plasma interactions

Padma Shukla, Bengt Eliasson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

520 Citations (Scopus)


Dusty plasmas are ubiquitous in low-temperature laboratory discharges as well as in the near-earth environment, planetary rings, and interstellar spaces. In this paper, updated knowledge of fundamentals of collective dust-plasma interactions and several novel phenomena are presented that have been observed in laboratories and in space dusty plasmas. Mechanisms that are responsible for the charging of dust grains are discussed, and the fact that the dust charge perturbation is a new dynamical variable in a dusty plasma. The underlying physics of different forces that act on a charged dust grain is reviewed. In dusty plasmas, there are new attractive forces (e.g., due to wakefield and ion focusing effects and dipole-dipole interactions between unevenly charged dust rods). Furthermore, in the presence of an ensemble of charged dust grains, there are collective dust-plasma interactions featuring new waves (e.g., the dust acoustic wave, the dust ion-acoustic wave, the dust lattice wave, etc.), new instabilities, and coherent nonlinear structures (dust acoustic and dust ion-acoustic shocks, dust voids, and dust vortices), which are also discussed. Theoretical models for numerous collective dust-plasma interactions are compared with existing observations from laboratories and space environments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-44
Number of pages20
JournalReviews of Modern Physics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jan 2009


  • dusty plasmas
  • laboratory discharges
  • charged dust grains


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