The plasma state of soft matter
Research report (imported) 2007 - Max Planck Institute for extraterrestrial Physics
Plasmas are regarded as the most disordered state of matter, so it came as a major surprise when in 1994 MPE scientists discovered that under special conditions plasmas can become liquids and may even spontaneously crystallise. These so-called “Complex Plasmas” have unusual properties. They belong to the class of “soft matter” and make it possible, for the first time, to research condensed matter states at the most elementary (individual particle) level at all relevant length and time scales – including the limits and onset of cooperative phenomena.