Question #e602a

1 Answer
Oct 15, 2015

Plasmas can be formed at any temperature.


A plasma is an ionized gas that consists of free electrons and positive ions.

Thermal plasmas are created by heating a gas to extremely high temperatures, as in stars.

Nonthermal plasmas can be formed by subjecting a gas to a strong electromagnetic field, such as from a microwave, a laser, or an electrical discharge.

Some examples of artificially produced plasmas are:

  • Magnetic fusion plasmas (100 000 000 K)
  • Plasma screens in TV sets
  • Fluorescent lamps
  • Neon signs

The gas inside this neon sign is a plasma.

Neon sign

Two examples of natural plasmas on Earth are:

  • The Northern (and Southern) Lights
  • Lightning (30 000 K)

The gas inside this lightning bolt is a plasma.


Two examples of plasmas in space are:

  • The solar wind
  • Stars

This nearby star is a mass of plasma (only 6000 K at the surface, but 15 000 000 K in the interior).

Star plasma