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 Science      Overview  |   What are Plasmas?   |   Powers of 10   
States of Matter*
Primary Natural Systems

solids condensed matter, compact (nuclear)
liquids, neutral gas fluid (Navier-Stokes)** systems
plasmas electromagnetic (Maxwell-Boltzmann)** systems
*There are only four dominant naturally-occurring states of matter although many other states of matter exist when considered broadly (see A. Barton, States of Matter, States of Mind, IOP Press, 1997).

Plasmas are conductive assemblies of charged particles, neutrals and fields that exhibit collective effects. Further, plasmas carry electrical currents and generate magnetic fields. Plasmas are the most common form of matter, comprising more than 99% of the visible universe, and
permeate the solar system, inter-stellar and intergalactic environments.

**The Navier-Stokes equations are basic equations for studies of fluids and neutral gas systems. The Maxwell equations for electromagnetism and the plasma Boltzmann equation are the basic equations for studies of electromagnetic systems of which plasmas are a prime example
- see references.

Plasmas are radically multiscale in two senses
(1) most plasma systems involve electrodynamic coupling across micro-, meso- and macroscale and
(2) plasma systems occur over most of the physically possible ranges in space, energy and density scales.
Further details are provided at the public plasma page.

Considering Powers of 10 is useful for grasping the unique way in which plasmas are radically multi-scale in space, energy and density.

Because plasmas are conductive and respond to electric and magnetic fields and can be efficient sources of radiation, they can be used in innumerable applications where such control is needed or when special sources of energy or radiation are required.

The topics page provides close to 200 subject areas in plasma science and technology and nearly 100 applications!

Major topical areas of plasma science and technology
Plasma Equilibria, dynamic and static Wave and Beam Interactions in Plasmas
Naturally-occurring plasmas Numerical Plasmas and Simulations
Plasma Sources Plasma Theory
Plasma-based Devices Plasma Diagnostics
Plasma Sheath Industrial Plasmas

When considered inclusively, it is clear that plasma science and technology encompasses immense diversity, pervasiveness and potential. Diversity through numerous topical areas; pervasiveness by covering the full range of energy, density, time and spatial scales; and potential through innumerable current and future applications. This is the exhibit theme at the public plasma page.