Intro to Non-Thermal Plasma
Non-thermal plasmas (NTPs), are sometimes called “cold flames” because they share many of the properties of fire - including the sterilizing properties. However, unlike flames, NTPs are not hot and do not consume oxygen.
NTPs are formed in the presence of a high electric field gradient, i.e., a substantial difference in voltage between two electrodes that are closely spaced. At very low pressures, well below that of ambient air, plasmas can form stably in various gases. At standard atmospheric pressure, the same configuration would generate sparks that jump between the electrodes - not what we want. However, if a dielectric material is situated between the electrodes, then a plasma that covers a much larger volume than a spark can be maintained stably over the surface.