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Demonstrating universal scaling for dynamics of Yukawa one-component plasmas after an interaction quench


Pohl,  T.
Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems, Max Planck Society;

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Langin, T. K., Strickler, T., Maksimovic, N., McQuillen, P., Pohl, T., Vrinceanu, D., et al. (2016). Demonstrating universal scaling for dynamics of Yukawa one-component plasmas after an interaction quench. Physical Review E, 93(2), 3201-3201.

The Yukawa one-component plasma (OCP) model is a paradigm for describing plasmas that contain one component of interest and one or more other components that can be treated as a neutralizing, screening background. In appropriately scaled units, interactions are characterized entirely by a screening parameter, kappa. As a result, systems of similar kappa show the same dynamics, regardless of the underlying parameters (e.g., density and temperature). We demonstrate this behavior using ultracold neutral plasmas (UNPs) created by photoionizing a cold (T <= 10 mK) gas. The ions in UNP systems are well described by the Yukawa model, with the electrons providing the screening. Creation of the plasma through photoionization can be thought of as a rapid quench of the interaction potential from kappa = infinity to a final kappa value set by the electron density and temperature. We demonstrate experimentally that the postquench dynamics are universal in. over a factor of 30 in density and an order of magnitude in temperature. Results are compared with molecular-dynamics simulations. We also demonstrate that features of the postquench kinetic energy evolution, such as disorder-induced heating and kinetic-energy oscillations, can be used to determine the plasma density and the electron temperature.