PK4 Neon
  MPE MPE proudly presents:

The PK-4 Project

A DC* Plasma for the ISS

Project Goals

Meeting Announcements

The PK-4 Team




This project is supported by ''Ministerium für Wirtschaft und Technologie durch das Zentrum für Luft und Raumfahrt e.V. (DLR) unter dem Förderkennzeichen 50WP0804''.


The PK-4 project is intended to fly a dc-discharge tube (*modified with rf inductive coils for confinement and manipulation) on the ISS in order to conduct complex plasma experiments under microgravity conditions. Compared to the rf experiments previously flown (see the Plasmakristall pages), the dc chamber allows greater optical access for diagnostics as well as laser manipulation. Examples of experiments which are planned for PK-4 are "Ion drag force measurements", "Measurement of particle charge", "Compression-freezing", "Shear flow/transition to turbulence", "Self-organization/non-equilibrium phase transitions", etc.

The project will be conducted in close collaboration with our colleagues from the Institute of High Energy Densities (IHED) of the Russian Academy of Science. (Visit also the IHED Homepage.)

The pre-development phase, supported by DLR from August 2002 to December 2004 is now completed. In addition to the construction of a laboratory and parabolic flight experiment set-up, scientific results on the particle charge and the ion drag force in laboratory experiments and under microgravity in two ESA parabolic flight campaigns were obtained and published. The continuation of the laboratory set-up and further experiments are supported by DLR from February 2005 to January 2008. Furthermore, there was a phase A/B study at ESA on the implementation of PK-4 on board of the ISS. The project is now continued in phase C/D.

Plasma   Sketch
Left: Plasma (positive column of a DC discharge) inside a glass tube.
Right: Sketch of the PK-4 setup. (Click to enlarge.)
PK4 PK-4 plasma kristall Plasma crystal complex plasmas PK4 PK-4 kristall Plasma crystal complex plasmas PK4 PK-4 PK4 PK-4 PK4 PK-4 PK4 kristall Plasma crystal complex plasmas

Credits:     Updated: 09/2008 PK-4 Webmaster (Michael Kretschmer)
Design by J. Quinn | Space Photographs: The NASA Gallery | (c) 2008 MPE Impressum