Plasma chemistry is an area of research that has consumed and inspired more than 35 years of the author's professional activities. During this period, plasma chemistry has become a rapidly growing area of scientific endeavor that holds great promise for practical applications for industrial and medical fields. Plasma has become a ubiquitous element that pervades many aspects of our lives. For example, the public is well aware of plasma TV, fluorescent lamps, and plasma thrusters, as well as popular-culture concepts such as plasma guns and plasma shields from Star Trek. Not many are aware, however, that computers, cell phones, and other modern electronic devices are manufactured using plasma-enabled chemical processing equipment; that most of the synthetic fibers used in clothing, photomaterials, and advanced packaging materials are plasma treated; that a significant amount of potable water in the world is purified using ozone-plasma technology; and that many different tools and special surfaces are plasma coated to protect and provide them with new extraordinary properties. The developments in plasma chemistry are enabling tremendous growth in a variety of applications for manufacturing, environmental remediation, and therapeutic and preventive medicine.
The motivation for this book is to provide engineers and scientists with a foundational understanding of the physical and chemical phenomena associated with both thermal and non-thermal discharge plasmas. Students pursuing degrees in electrical, chemical, mechanical, environmental, and materials engineering will find that the applications in plasma and plasma chemistry will have many important bearings in their own disciplinary areas.