Phenomenon Plasma – Nature and Benefit
The material world surrounds us generally in three classical states of matter: solid, liquid and gaseous. In addition, there are other states of aggregation. The term plasma is used to describe a gaseous state in which free electrons and ionized atoms exist. This term was coined by Irving Langmuir, winner of Nobel Prize for Chemistry of 1932, in 1928. Matter has additional physical properties in this aggregate state, which can be used in practice.
Even if one knows mostly the sun, lightnings or recently plasma televisions as being prominent examples of plasma, the distribution and application of plasmas is much wider. Each of us touches or comes into contact with technologies, which were enabled by plasma, every day. Lighting and large-scale displays, products from microelectronics, mirror coatings and scratch-resistant layers, welding and electrical switchgears, solar cells, disinfection of packing and medical devices as well as biocompatible human implants either use directly low temperature plasmas or are manufactured with them. In many cases they would not exist without plasmas.
Low temperature plasma is cost-effective and easy to handle. Thus, it has great potential to capture further areas like e.g. in the medicine, similar to the laser once. INP Greifswald has a determining influence on the pace of this development. The current focus of its research activities is on Plasmas for Materials and Energy as well as Environment and Health.