J-Plasma is a new and potentially revolutionary medical device which uses an advanced state of matter called plasma, but it is also a very special type of plasma called “cold plasma.”
Plasma, sometimes referred to as the fourth state of matter, behaves like a gas, but also conducts electricity like a wire, because it is ionized. We can think of an atom as being like a miniature solar system with the Sun (nucleus) in the center and planets (electrons) orbiting around it. The nucleus and the electrons of an atom are equally and oppositely charged, so overall, an atom is electrically neutral. However, if we remove one of the orbiting electrons, there is an imbalance and the atom is now electrically charged and called an ion.
So plasma consists of ions, which are atoms that have lost one or more electrons, and also the free electrons that came from those atoms. We can remove the electron from a neutral atom by heating the atom to many thousands of degrees, basically shaking the electron off the atom. Or, we can use an electric field to pull the electron off. This is how J-Plasma works, by flowing neutral atoms of Helium over a sharp conductive point that is held at high voltage.
Plasma can be divided into two broad categories: thermal plasma and non-thermal or cold plasma. Some examples of thermal plasma include a welding torch, a lightning bolt, and the surface of the Sun. These are very hot, potentially dangerous plasmas where many, if not most of the atoms are ionized. In contrast, non-thermal or cold plasma has only a small fraction of its atoms ionized. Examples of cold plasma include fluorescent lamps and neon signs.
If the J-Plasma beam were tuned to a very gentle mode, only about one in a million Helium atoms, or less, would be ionized. Even at this low level of ionization, the J-Plasma beam is clearly visible and rather resembles a miniature version of Luke Skywalker’s Light Saber from the Star Wars movie. If the J-Plasma beam were tuned to an aggressive mode, still only about one in a thousand Helium atoms would be ionized. So the vast majority of Helium gas atoms in the J-Plasma beam is not ionized and is at or close to room temperature, providing a highly localized effect and preventing collateral damage to surrounding healthy tissue.
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Photo courtesy of OpenCage