Plasma – Small Flame with a Big Effect

Do you know what plasma is? Why it’s good and which areas it is already being used in? We might not be able to use plasma for turning straw into gold, like in fairy tales, but the mix of energies is still remarkable. Whether it’s fluorescent lamps, plasma screens or the coating of glass – plasma is considered the fourth fundamental state of matter after solid, liquid and gaseous and is omnipresent in our day-to-day lives. It is produced by applying large amounts of energy to a gas. This makes the gas atoms or molecules lose their outer electrons. The resulting ions (atoms missing one or more electrons) move around freely and, at the same time, influence each other. The plasma used in industry or in medicine is a partly ionised gas that has a number of special components. On top of the reactive ions and electrons described above, these components include UV radiation, visible light, thermal radiation, electromagnetic fields and excited oxygen and nitrogen species.

Picture: INP Greifswald