A number of industrial processes depend on the generation and usage of plasma. On this webpage we explain what a plasma actually is, where it occurs naturally, how it can be generated and what are the possible applications.
In physics, a plasma is an ionised gas, i.e. a gas where some percentage of the electrons are not bound to their respective atoms or molecules any more and therefore can move freely within the plasma. While a gas at ambient temperature is usually an excellent insulator, e.g. the air we are breathing, a plasma is highly conductive and therefore subject to interactions with electromagnetic fields. It is therefore termed the forth state of matter, after solid, liquid and gaseous. Plasmas are in general generated by transferring sufficient energy into a gas, e.g. by means of an electromagnetic field or by heating up the gas above a certain temperature.
There is a very broad range of different types of plasma, e.g.:
Plasma sources can be divided into 2 groups, namely:
While most people think about plasma as something artificial, it is very common in nature. As a matter of fact, more than 99 % of our solar system consists of plasma, made of the sun, the solar wind, the interplanetary medium etc. Some examples for the natural occurrences of plasma on earth are:
The first artificial plasma was generated around 1869 - 1875 in a device called “Crookes tube”, an electrical discharge tube using high tension DC voltage. Nowadays artificial plasmas are widely used in industrial processes as well as in every day’s products, operated at atmospheric pressure down to high vacuum. Some examples for artificial plasma sources are:
We can currently supply a complete range of microwave based plasma components, applicators, plants and related services, and are in the process of expanding our range of RF based plasma equipment. Should you have any enquiries please feel free to contact us.