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Dust levitation above the lunar surface: role of charge fluctuations

Status Report From: arXiv.org e-Print archive
Posted: Monday, July 3, 2017

E V Rosenfeld, A V Zakharov
(Submitted on 29 Jun 2017)

The most likely cause of levitation of dust above the surface of atmosphereless planets is the electrostatic mechanism. However, the crucial problem in the explanation of this effect is a determination of the reason why a large electric charge (units or even dozens of elementary charges) required for take-off can be accumulated on the smallest dust particles. Due to the photoeffect the charge of such value could be easily accumulated on a solitary dust particle, but if a dust particle has not yet taken off, the average value of its charge is several orders of magnitude lower because of the extremely low charge density on the planet's surface. The paper shows that surface charge density is really small only for averaging over regions of macroscopic size, and on a submicron scale the surface appear to be a collection of chaotic "spots" with charges of different signs. The positively charged "spots" are only slightly larger than the negatively charged spots, which explains the small value of the charge density averaged over macroscopic regions. "Spots" arise due to fluctuations in the fluxes of the photoelectrons taking off and falling back the surface, and the charge density inside the "spots" is sufficient to allow a takeoff of particles with the dimensions less than or on the order of 0.1 micron in the field of a double layer.

Subjects:    Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)
Cite as:    arXiv:1706.09664 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:1706.09664v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Submission history
From: Eugene Rosenfeld 
[v1] Thu, 29 Jun 2017 10:29:56 GMT (586kb)
https://arxiv.org/abs/1706.09664

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