Thermodynamic state variables in quasiequilibrium ultracold neutral plasma

SK Tiwari and NR Shaffer and SD Baalrud, PHYSICAL REVIEW E, 95, 043204 (2017).

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevE.95.043204

The pressure and internal energy of an ultracold plasma in a state of quasiequilibrium are evaluated using classical molecular dynamics simulations. Coulomb collapse is avoided by modeling electron-ion interactions using an attractive Coulomb potential with a repulsive core. We present a method to separate the contribution of classical bound states, which form due to recombination, from the contribution of free charges when evaluating these thermodynamic state variables. It is found that the contribution from free charges is independent of the choice of repulsive core length scale when it is sufficiently short- ranged. The partial pressure associated with the free charges is found to closely follow that of the one-component plasma model, reaching negative values at strong coupling, while the total system pressure remains positive. This pseudopotential model is also applied to Debye- Huckel theory to describe the weakly coupled regime.

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