The use of plasma is at the core of numerous technologies in industry, enabling applications in microelectronics, materials, and medicine. This is possible because plasma, being a reactive mixture of ions, electrons and neutrals, opens new pathways for reactions which are otherwise difficult or impossible by conventional chemistry. A key benefit of plasma stems from its non-equilibrium: electrons, ions and neutrals maintain separate temperatures. High temperature chemistry being accessible in room temperature environments has advanced materials science and enables applications such as medical device coatings, functionalization of the surfaces of delicate materials, and for the precise construction of semiconductor devices.
The plasma generation environment depends on application requirements and pressure ranges. This has led to the development of various kinds of plasma sources. The three most common plasma generation methods are via constant electric fields (DC), alternating electric fields (RF) and electromagnetic fields (GHz). The fundamental properties of a plasma span a wide range of particle temperatures and densities depending on the source used. Below is a summary of the main differences between DC, RF and microwave plasmas.
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