What is Plasma?

Plasma (Greek: anything formed) is also denoted as the fourth state of matter. This is easy to visualize if you take water as an example; in the form of ice, it is a solid body; if warmth (energy) is added, it becomes liquid; by further addition of energy, it lastly becomes gaseous. If even more energy is added to the gas, a plasma results, a state in which the outer electrons are separated from the gas atoms or molecules.

Atoms, or rather molecules, ions (atoms which are missing one or more electrons), and electrons in a plasma are free to move about and interact with each other at the same time. Thus, a plasma is a fully or partially ionized gas that as an electrically conductive medium possesses a number of special characteristics.

Matter in the plasma state is found in the sun and in all the stars. Plasma is also formed from solar wind emitted from the sun and from the charged particles which are trapped in the earth's magnetic field.

Technical plasmas are gases that are only partially ionized. They may average at room temperature ("non-thermal plasmas"); the free electrons are nevertheless extremely reactive. Technical plasmas are indispensable tools in many branches of industry.

Who can Profit from Plasma Technology?

Plasma technology is an indispensable tool in many industrial and technological sectors. It is used everywhere where quality, productivity, environmental sustainability, precision, and flexibility are of high importance. However, plasma technology often remains unseen since the word is rarely used in product names, an example to the contrary being plasma television. Here are several examples of sectors which could profit from plasma technology:

  • Printing and Paper
  • Automobile Industry
  • Wood Processing
  • Plastics Technology
  • Food Technology
  • Medical Technology
  • Textile Industry
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Packaging Industry
  • Tool Manufacturing

What can Plasma Technology Do?

Plasma technology, through innovative products and processes, opens up new business opportunities. The range of fields of application is large: surfaces of diverse materials can be coated, activated, functionalized, cleaned, sanitized, or etched; exhaust air can be cleaned of pollutants, smells, or germs; and much more.

Surface Engineering

  • Biocompatibility
  • Decorative Effects
  • Sterilization
  • Fluid and Gas permeability
  • Friction and Gliding behavior
  • Adhesion (printability, paintability, bondability)
  • Corrosion Protection
  • Scratch resistance
  • Wear protection

Environmental Engineering

  • Disinfection
  • Odour elimination
  • Pollutant degradation

Measurement Technology

  • Workplace Monitoring
  • Process Control
  • Environmental Monitoring