Sergei A. Khrapak

60 seconds with authors

Sergei A. Khrapak


Max-Planck-Institut fur Extraterrestrische Physik, Garching, Germany



What led you into science and your chosen area of research?

I was diploma student at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology in the middle 1990 when a paper by H. Thomas et al. from the Max-Planck-Institute in Garching came to my attention. In this paper plasma crystals ordered systems of strongly interacting particles in plasmas have been for the first time observed experimentally. I was so amazed by the beauty of these systems that I changed the direction of my scientific activities and started my diploma work at the Institute for High Temperatures where investigations in the field of dusty (complex) plasmas had just began. Since then I am involved in this field.


Can you describe the results in your paper and their importance for your field?

In short, this is a comprehensive review of the field of dusty (complex) plasmas. It covers most important directions of experimental and theoretical research, including basic processes (particle charging, interactions, forces that the particles experience in plasmas), phase transitions and self-organization, transport and wave properties, as well as some new emerging directions. The content was carefully chosen in order to represent most important achievements in the field. Remarkably, most of the material is not outdated yet, even though the field is still growing very rapidly. Finally, the paper is accessible not only to specialists, but also to the beginners in the field.


What research projects are you working on at the moment?

At the moment my interests are merely focused on basic plasma-dust interactions, which include particle charging, interactions between charged particles, as well as interactions between the particles and surrounding plasma. Another interesting project is related to the possible existence of liquid-vapor critical point in complex plasmas, a prediction that we have made recently on the basis of qualitative similarities in interparticle interactions as compared to conventional liquids and gases. I also provide some theoretical support for a joint Russian-German experimental project Plasma Crystal operational onboard the International Space Station. This experiment aims to investigate complex plasmas in microgravity conditions on the most fundamental kinetic level.


What do you think will be the next big breakthrough in your field?

It is not easy to say. The field is relatively new, rapidly developing, and interdisciplinary. A few directions of great potential impact include study of phase transitions at the individual particle level, possibility to design the interparticle interaction potential, investigation of critical phenomena, microgravity experiments.


What book are you reading right now?

Right now I am reading a book by George Mikes containing How to be an alien and Shakespeare and myself.


If you could have dinner with any 3 people, past or present, who would they be and why?

Isaak Newton, Albert Einstein, and Niels Bohr seem to be an interesting choice to discuss progresses in physics.


What has been the most exciting moment in your career so far?

Receiving a young researcher medal for outstanding contribution to the understanding of dust-plasma interactions during the International Conference on the Physics of Dusty Plasmas in Orleans (2005). This was a great pleasure and honor.


What would you like to say in connection with the 90th anniversary of Uspekhi Fizicheskikh Nauk journal?

Physics-Uspekhi is certainly the most successful Russian physical journal in the new Sanctuary. This can be judged not only by the high impact factor, but also by the broad coverage of the material, and quality of the papers. I can only wish to retain this position. As an author I promise to contribute by all forces to that.

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