Plasma sounds like the stuff of sci-fi, yet you most likely experienced the fourth state of matter at least once a day. Whenever you see a neon sign, a fluorescent light, a glimmer of lightning, or simply gaze at the sun to feast upon its vitality, you're experiencing plasma in all its brilliance.
Plasma is in fact an ionized gas, which implies that it has various properties that influence it to carry on like a strong unit, for example, having the capacity to direct power and collaborate with attractive fields. Plasma is super helpful yet it accompanies a noteworthy drawback: like a customary gas, it can be difficult to bind without a special container.
But worry not, a team of physicists at Caltech have created what seemed to be impossible: creating a plasma ring in the open air for the first time!
"We were told by some colleagues this wasn't even possible,” Francisco Pereira, a visiting scholar at Caltech, said in a statement. “But we can create a stable ring and maintain it for as long as we want, no vacuum or magnetic field or anything.”
How'd they do it, you ask? With a high-powered stream of water at a crystal plate. Researchers utilized such surge of water that was not as much as the width of a human hair and moves as quick as a bullet to create this plasma ring. Moreover, the crystal plates are used to generate an electrical charge the moment rub with other objects (water for this), creating friction.
"When the high-powered stream of water hits the plate, it creates a smooth, thin layer of positively charged ions as it spreads out over the negatively charged plate. At the point where the water hits the plate, this generates a lot of electrons flowing from the plate to the surface where they ionize the gases at the surface. This results in a small, stable plasma ring that is visible under a microscope and can be sustained for as long as the water is flowing across the surface," as Motherboard reported.
As to its uses, researchers the possible of this to be helpful in energy storage. But for now, why won't we just appreciate this art made from pure science?
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