What is a plasma?
The term “plasma” in the public is often associated either with a constituent of blood serving as a liquid carrier for blood cells or nuclear fusion for power generation or with television technology (“plasma tv”). Only the latter two of these examples lead onto the right track with respect to the IP4Plasma project since “plasma” in these cases means the fourth physical state of matter (the other three are solid, liquid and gas). This state represents a gas containing atoms and/or molecules as in an “ordinary” gas plus some or all of the following: excited atoms, excited molecules, charged particles including positive and negative ions, radicals (these are characterized by the presence of a lonesome electron in the outer valence shell and may therefore be unstable and chemically reactive) and photons or light. Though containing charged particles the plasma as a whole is neutral.