Bragg Diffraction from Crystallized Ion Plasmas

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Science  30 Jan 1998:
Vol. 279, Issue 5351, pp. 686-689
DOI: 10.1126/science.279.5351.686

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Single crystals of a one-component plasma were observed by optical Bragg diffraction. The plasmas contained 105 to 106 single-positive beryllium-9 ions (9Be+) at particle densities of 108to 109 per cubic centimeter. In approximately spherical plasmas, single body-centered cubic (bcc) crystals or, in some cases, two or more bcc crystals having fixed orientations with respect to each other were observed. In some oblate plasmas, a mixture of bcc and face-centered cubic ordering was seen. Knowledge of the properties of one-component plasma crystals is required for models of white dwarfs and neutron stars, which are believed to contain matter in that form.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: witano{at}

  • Present address: Frequency & Time Systems, Beverly, MA 01915, USA.

  • On leave from the Institute of Physics, University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Yugoslavia.

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