We report the results of a study of the electrostatic interaction between n
egatively charged particles in a plasma. The goal of the study was to inves
tigate the possibility of an attractive interaction which would make possib
le the formation of "molecules" of particles. For all approximations relati
ng the positive ion density to the local electrostatic potential that we ex
amined, we find that the interaction is repulsive for all particle separati
ons. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.