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Plasma systems

Subject a gas to a strong electromagnetic field, and it begins to glow. This is plasma – the 4th state of matter. It manifests in nature in bolts and sheets of lightning, in the structure of the sun and the appearance of aurorae. Closer to home, you might see it in static electric sparks, neon signs and plasma balls. Like a gas it is electrically neutral, but the electrical charges are separated into equal numbers of positive (atomic and molecular ions) and negative (electrons) particles. This makes the plasma electrically conductive.

It sounds quite untameable, but through control of the gas composition and delivery of electrical energy it is possible to control the concentration of the charged particles, and hence the effective temperature (from room temperature to sun hot) as well as the composition of the “zoo” of active ingredients that can be tailored to particular applications

Uses of plasma

Amongst developed and developing applications, Gnosys’ expertise started in producing controlled plasmas to “activate” plastic surfaces. This then allows more durable printing on food wrapping, better adhesion between multilayer plastic materials, and better mixing of other particles in composite materials.

Whilst developing our plastics processing expertise we observed the ability for plasma to act as a bactericide and fungicide and have assisted others in applying this technology to human health and beauty. Unlike other options such as ozone, these controlled plasmas can be designed to kill bacteria and fungus without damaging the surrounding material. Plasma has applications in:

  • Wound healing – in this rapidly developing field the same benefits can be applied to both human and animal husbandry
  • Killing / reducing fungus – our partners have developed a device for treating onychomycosis showing effective treatment at depth
  • Sterilising food packaging – extending shelf life for the consumer
  • Low or no bacteria food ingredients – kill bacteria that may be carried on the surface of powders. This can be achieved without pasteurisation
  • Low temperature vessel sterilisation
  • Reduction of spoilage mechanisms on natural products – as example reducing bacterial and fungal load on the surface of seeds to encourage healthy growth
  • Avoiding build-up of bacterial resistance through the multiple assaults of charged particles, ultraviolet, active atoms / molecules

With suitable design, plasmas quickly revert back to their starting gases. They are safe environmentally friendly and leave no residues unlike commonly chemical bactericides.

Gnosys expertise in plasma

As indicated above, Gnosys have plasma development expertise and can help you create specially customized devices and plasma gases for a wide range of uses, ranging from plasmas that are cool enough to touch but effective in killing bacteria, through to hot systems capable of generating novel nano-materials.

If you have a potential adhesion / surface activation / bactericidal / materials application, please call us to discuss the best technical option. The type of work we undertake:

  • Prototype development –creating a bespoke solution for you to test your application
  • Tailor the ingredients - bespoke gas mixtures for your applications
  • Equipment selection – advise / design / build your equipment package to create a plasma with the right efficacy
  • Carry out laboratory feasibility trials – including sterilisation and bacterial kill

This plasma technology development is continually providing new interesting properties and opportunities to develop startling commercial uses. Some of our observations include:

  • Plasma can penetrate deeply, often using water as transport
  • Plasma treated materials are not “shadowed” – they are “enveloped”
  • Cracks and surface imperfections enhance the effect of travelling plasma
  • If using air for the plasma “fuel”, we can “trade off” ozone and NOx production, reducing or enhancing these as required.

Advantages of plasma

  • High bacteria kill rates
  • Low cost
  • Low (or high) temperature
  • Low (or high) pressure
  • No residues
  • No chemicals
  • No surface damage
  • Safe to use on living tissue
  • Taints and off-odours minimised
  • Application specific customisation
  • Effective sterilisation

Please contact us

If you think plasma might be a solution for your challenge, please call us and we will be happy to discuss on a confidential basis whether plasma will be a viable solution for you.

Gnosys expertise in plasma

As indicated above, Gnosys have plasma development expertise and can help you create specially customized devices and plasma gases for a wide range of uses, ranging from plasmas that are cool enough to touch but effective in killing bacteria, through to hot systems capable of generating novel nano-materials.

If you have a potential adhesion / surface activation / bactericidal / materials application, please call us to discuss the best technical option. The type of work we undertake:

  • Prototype development –creating a bespoke solution for you to test your application
  • Tailor the ingredients - bespoke gas mixtures for your applications
  • Equipment selection – advise / design / build your equipment package to create a plasma with the right efficacy
  • Carry out laboratory feasibility trials – including sterilisation and bacterial kill

This plasma technology development is continually providing new interesting properties and opportunities to develop startling commercial uses. Some of our observations include:

  • Plasma can penetrate deeply, often using water as transport
  • Plasma treated materials are not “shadowed” – they are “enveloped”
  • Cracks and surface imperfections enhance the effect of travelling plasma
  • If using air for the plasma “fuel”, we can “trade off” ozone and NOx production, reducing or enhancing these as required.