[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recent investigations of dust-density waves in a dusty plasma under microgravity conditions [K. O. Menzel et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 104, 235002 (2010)] showed that the wave field consists of distinct regions of different frequencies. These so-called frequency clusters are known from simulations of chains of mutually coupled van der Pol oscillators. The behavior of distinct oscillators adjacent to the cluster boundaries were studied numerically. The interaction of these oscillators leads to periodic frequency pulling, a typical feature of driven van der Pol oscillators that is also observed in our experiments.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Density waves in a dusty plasma emerge spontaneously at low gas pressures and high dust densities. These acousticlike wave modes were studied in a radio-frequency discharge under microgravity conditions. The complex three-dimensional wave pattern shows a spatially varying wavelength that leads to bifurcations, i.e., topological defects, where wave fronts split or merge. The calculation of instantaneous wave attributes from the spatiotemporal evolution of the dust density allows a precise analysis of those structures. Investigations of the spatial frequency distribution inside the wave field revealed that the wave frequency decreases from the bulk to the edge of the cloud in terms of frequency jumps. Between those jumps, regions of almost constant frequency appear. The formation of frequency clusters is strongly correlated with defects that occur exclusively at the cluster boundaries. It is shown that the nonlinearity of the waves has a significant influence on the topology of the wave pattern.
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