Plasma isn’t just plasma!
Variable technologies for numerous areas of application
An important point is that these basic technologies generate different plasmas which can be employed across various areas of application.
As already outlined under “Plasma“, cold atmospheric plasma produces a reactive mixture of electrons, ions, excited atoms and molecules, reactive species (such as O3, NO, NO2, etc.), UV radiation and heat. These plasma components – individually – have specific qualities for certain applications, e.g. short-lived electrons can effectively destroy malodour, whereas a suitable mix of reactive plasma components can be used for disinfection or sterilization by inactivating microorganisms.
Our basic technologies – Magnetically Oriented Plasma Technology (MOPS), Surface Micro Discharge Technology (SMD), Microwave Plasma Technology (MWP) and Venturiplasma Technology (Venturi) – can be adapted in an optimum way to reach your application targets.
Magnetically Organized Plasma Source
The magnetically organized plasma source is characterized by a DC discharge which is set in rotation through a magnetic field. This creates a continuous plasma layer in which the generated plasma electrons efficiently destroy trace malodour molecules or other contaminants passing through. The process of the molecular destruction through the electrons is known as “Electron-Impact-Dissociation”. Odour removal using this process was first filed for patent in 2011 by the Max Planck Society. The MOPS technology was filed for patent by terraplasma GmbH in 2015.
Covalent bonds can be destroyed by the plasma electrons generated. This process was experimentally analyzed using air contaminated with ammonia. Ammonia has a bond enthalpy of 391 kJ/mol, low enough for the plasma electrons to be able to dissociate the molecules.
Yes, but only in extremely small quantities. Ozone production is below the WHO limits of 0.05 ppm for 8 hours of continuous inhalation.
Yes, small single MOPS units as well as multiple MOPS units can be used in parallel. This facilitates a larger throughput volume.
No. The current configurations are operated in ambient air.
Surface Micro-Discharge Technology
The Surface Micro-Discharge Technology (SMD) is a flexible, scalable technology consisting of a continuous high-voltage electrode, an insulating layer and a grounded, structured electrode. By applying high voltage, micro-discharges (with a length of only a few millimetres) are generated on the structured electrode. These micro-discharges produce a range of plasma components, which can be varied by changing the structural shape of the plasma source or the operating parameters (frequency, voltage). Accordingly, the SMD technology is suitable for the following – in part very different – applications by selecting an appropriate plasma source design:
- Inactivation of microbes on surfaces (including human skin and wounds)
- Inactivation of microbes in narrow capillaries
- Inactivation of microbes in liquids
- Destruction of odour molecules in textiles
This flexibility in design and function allows the use of the SMD technology in many different application areas. The SMD technology has already been patented by the Max Planck Society in Japan and EU. A technological advance, the so-called “thin film technology” (SMD plasma sources, which can be operated at low voltages of approximately 3 kV) was submitted for patent by terraplasma GmbH in 2015.
SMD plasma sources are flexible and scalable. SMD technology has enabled the development of both small, handheld, battery-powered devices, as well as large-area electrodes for fast treatment of extensive areas or volumes. Thus, the size can be adapted according to your requirements.
Yes. However, depending on the intended application, the ozone production can be drastically reduced – if required.
Our SMD sources are currently operated with voltages of approximately 2.5 to 12 kV, depending on design and structure.
Microwave Plasma Technology
The microwave plasma technology was developed at the Max-Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics and is now being commercialized at terraplasma GmbH.
The microwave plasma technology is designed to produce a clinical Argon plasma, and has been used in various studies on chronic and acute wounds as well as on various skin diseases. Currently, terraplasma GmbH has out-licenced the microwave plasma technology exclusively to Adtec Ltd., which produces the clinically tested cold plasma device “SteriPlas” (including the microwave plasma technology) and distributes it to wound centres and clinics. For further details, please visit: www.adtecplasma.com
Yes, in an eight-year multicentre clinical trial involving a total of 379 patients, chronically infected wounds were treated with cold microwave plasma. Further details regarding the clinical trial can be found here.
There are a number of applications – e.g. the disinfection of endoscopes or pressure hoses – which require high flow velocities, or at least the effect of high flow velocities is desirable. To ignite a controlled plasma at high flow velocity in ambient air is fairly complex. An innovative technique, based on research conducted at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, which enables controlled plasma production under these adverse conditions, utilises the so-called “Venturi principle”.
When the air flow is directed through a specially shaped nozzle, a low-pressure regime is produced in a connected cavity – without any air flow. Within this cavity, plasma ignition and control is much easier and more cost-efficient. The plasma components produced in the cavity diffuse into the air stream and are dragged along with the flow. The plasma activated air can very efficiently inactivate microbes everywhere downstream.
The Venturi technology was successfully patented by the Max Planck Society in Japan, USA and in Europe.