Particles generated in an argon plasma and suspended at the plasma/sheath boundary are localized by lateral trapping fields. In the commercial rf etching reactor used in this work, the particles and their motion in real time are observed by laser light scattering with the laser beam rapidly rastered in a plane parallel to the rf electrode. Repulsion between individual, relatively large particles is observed, verifying that there is significant negative charge on the particles. Two types of trapping regions are commonly seen: rings of particles around the outside edge of silicon wafers, and domes of particles over the centers of the wafers. It is shown that these effects are influenced by the topography of the electrode. In addition, particle densities >107 cm-3 for particles of diameter 0.2 μm are inferred from transmission studies for certain plasma conditions.