In most space environments, dust particles are exposed to plasmas and UV radiation and, consequently, carry electrostatic charges. Their motion is influenced by electric and magnetic fields in addition to gravity, drag, and radiation pressure. On the surface of the Moon, in planetary rings, or at comets, for example, electromagnetic forces can shape the spatial and size distribution of micron-sized charged dust particles. The dynamics of small charged dust particles can be surprisingly complex, leading to levitation, rapid transport, energization and ejection, capture, and the formation of new planetary rings.

This review briefly discusses the most important processes that determine the charge state of dust particles immersed in plasmas and the resulting dynamics on exposed dusty surfaces and in planetary magnetospheres.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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