Although the public understanding of plasmas may be limited to plasma TVs, low-temperature plasma processes are beginning to enter into a higher level of consciousness due to the importance of plasma in many aspects of technological developments. The use of plasma for industrial purposes began more than 100 years ago with plasma sources used to produce light. Since then, plasma processes have emerged in transforming wide-ranging technologies, including microelectronics, gas lasers, polymers and novel materials, protective coatings, and water purification, and finally found their ubiquitous place in our homes. Plasma systems or plasma-treated materials are now commonly used and can be found in air-cleaning systems; food containers; fruit, meat, and vegetable treatment; fabrics; and medical devices.
In recent years, new application areas of plasma chemistry and plasma processing have been established, such as plasma nanotechnology with the continuous growth of the “dusty plasmas” domain, plasma production and modification of nanotubes, plasma aerodynamics, and plasma ignition and stabilization of flames. With the recent emphasis on alternative energy and environmental concerns, plasma chemistry has revolutionized hydrogen production, biomass conversion, and fuel-cell technology. In the same manner, the use of non-thermal plasmas in biology and medicine will likely “explode” in the coming years for various applications. Plasma is expected to soon be widely used in surgery, decontamination and sterilization of surfaces and devices, and air and water streams, as well as in tissue engineering and direct treatment of skin diseases.