Plasma technology is a powerful tool that can be used in various applications. Plasma is an electrically conductive gas that is comprised of vapor and charged particles known as ions (atoms that have an electric charge). When exposed to high levels of energy, the ionization process allows for a significant amount of plasma to be generated. This type of plasma is found in a variety of devices such as plasma displays, neon lights and the lightning that strikes Earth.
The PAC device uses electricity to create a high-velocity stream of ionized gas, also known as plasma, that slices through metal like butter. This technology is used for a wide range of industrial applications, such as plasma arc cutting (PAC), which is an essential part of the automotive manufacturing industry.
Researchers study plasma to understand its many properties and potential for use in computer chips, rocket propulsion and destroying biological hazards. It's also needed for achieving fusion energy, but that requires keeping the plasma soup of ions and electrons at just the right density, temperature and duration.
Lead author Yurii Victorovich Kovtun, despite being forced to leave the Kharkiv Institute of Physics and Technology because of the Russia-Ukraine war, has been working with scientists in Japan at Kyoto University to develop methods for creating stable plasmas. Their most recent finding is that blasting 2.45-GHz microwaves without aligning the magnetic field produced a plasma, which could help make nuclear fusion easier to achieve.