Configurational Entropy of Confined Yukawa Clusters



Confined strongly coupled systems, such as dust clusters in complex plasmas, are known to support multiple stable configurations corresponding to the same number of particles. In this work, we exploit the recently introduced concept of configurational entropy as a robust measure of the uncertainty arising due to the existence of multiple stable states with different occurrence probabilities. We apply this concept to classical Yukawa clusters of up to 100 particles in two- and three-dimensional parabolic traps and investigate the dependence of the entropy on the system size, dimensionality, interparticle interaction range and anisotropy of the parabolic confinement. A universal behaviour of the configurational entropy close to the dimensional (zigzag) transition is reported (© 2011 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim)