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Bild des Monats Januar 2022

Plasma crystals in Einstein's elevator

Microparticles (red dots) inside the "PKE-Nefedov" plasma chamber pick up electrons from the plasma (purple glow) and interact electrostatically with each other forming a regular structure, a so-called plasma crystal (large image). Here we can study the behaviour of a crystalline structure using a simple video camera. For optimum conditions we do this in weightlessness (microgravity), e.g. onboard the international space station ISS or in a drop tower. In September 2021 our group visited the "Einstein Elevator" at the University of Hannover, a new facility that allows to drop the setup from 20m height (see scheme on the left side), thus creating 2 seconds of microgravity during the free fall (according to Einstein's Gedankenexperiment). The video data of more than 50 drops are now under investigation for a PhD thesis. Inset: The group members of the Einstein Elevator (left) and JLU (right) with the plasma chamber in front of the elevator's gondola.

Image credits: C. Lotz, HITec, Leibniz University Hannover; M. Kretschmer (JLU, Institute of Experimental Physics I). WWW:

Dieses Bild wurde eingereicht von Dr. Michael Kretschmer (AG Prof. Dr. Markus Thoma).

Weitere Einblicke in die Arbeiten der am ZfM beteiligten Arbeitsgruppen finden sie in der Galerie der Bilder des Monats.