Despite their very different appearances, each of the technologies listed above relies on plasma to operate. This is due to the unique rheological properties of plasma that make it suitable for a wide range of applications including coating, deposition and etching as well as cleaning and sterilization.
Radio: The first experimental forms of radio became available in the 1920s but it wasn’t until the 1950s that broadcasting began to take off and become the dominant communication channel worldwide. Today a simple portable radio can provide an audio feed from virtually anywhere and it’s even possible to broadcast video content on mobile devices.
Race Car: The aerodynamics of a race car can be extremely complicated and plasmas are often used to provide precise control over the flow of air across the vehicle. As the leading edge of a race car travels at hypersonic speeds, it experiences tremendous heating that can cause wing failure, and methods to predict and minimize this heat load are currently being investigated.
Television: The technology that allowed the first live coast-to-coast commercial television broadcast in 1951 was plasma based. Plasma display panels (PDP) were once the main form of television but have now been largely superseded by flat panel displays such as LCDs.
Plasmas play a key role in the manufacturing of both PDPs and solid state lighting. The production of these devices requires plasma deposition, etching and cleaning processes to produce the high quality and low cost required for industrial applications.