Buckling of two-dimensional plasma crystals with nonreciprocal interactions

AV Zampetaki and H Huang and CR Du and H Lowen and AV Ivlev, PHYSICAL REVIEW E, 102, 043204 (2020).

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevE.102.043204

Laboratory realizations of two-dimensional (2D) plasma crystals typically involve monodisperse microparticles confined into horizontal monolayers in radio-frequency (rf) plasma sheaths. This gives rise to the so-called plasma wakes beneath the microparticles. The presence of wakes renders the interactions in such systems nonreciprocal, a fact that can lead to a quite different behavior from the one expected for their reciprocal counterparts. Here we examine the buckling of a hexagonal 2D plasma crystal, occurring as the confinement strength is decreased, taking explicitly into account the nonreciprocity of the system via a well-established point-wake model. We observe that for a finite wake charge, the monolayer hexagonal crystal undergoes a transition first to a bilayer hexagonal structure, unrealizable in harmonically confined reciprocal Yukawa systems, and subsequently to a bilayer square structure. Our theoretical results are confirmed by molecular dynamics simulations for experimentally relevant parameters, indicating the potential of their observation in state-of-the-art experiments with 2D complex plasmas.

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