Plasmas have an extraordinary array of applications that have widespread impact and reach. These applications include advanced material processing, green and environmental technologies, medicine, information technologies, nuclear fusion energy and space.
The National Centre for Plasma Science and Technology (NCPST) brings together plasma researchers from across the island of Ireland. As a multi-disciplinary field, our research spans many areas, including physics, engineering, chemistry, biology and mathematics. The NCPST supports researchers at all levels, fosters an inclusive interdisciplinary research environment, and connects with industry and the wider community.
Plasmas are often referred to as the fourth state of matter, alongside solid, liquid, and gas. They are also the most abundant state of matter with over 99.9% of the visible universe in the plasma state. Plasmas are ionised gases, in which electrons are freely mobile having been removed from neutral atoms and/or molecules. The plasma state consists of electrons, ions, and usually atoms and molecules, and this environment exhibits unique collective phenomena and intriguing atomic and molecular processes. Plasmas operate in a broad parameter regime, enabling a vast and diverse range of applications, from nanoelectronics to healthcare.
Naturally occurring plasmas in our visible universe include glows from stars such as the Sun, nebulae, aurorae, and lightning. On Earth, plasmas have revolutionised modern society by enabling technologies that underpin the manufacturing of computer and electronic chips, solar cells, and material growth and processing. Plasma science and engineering offer opportunities to develop solutions for many modern and emerging global challenges, including clean sustainable energy, potential targeted cancer therapeutics, antimicrobials, and environmental technologies.