Plasma Systems Technology: The Fourth State of Matter

Solids, liquids, gases, and plasmas. As the world’s understanding of the fourth fundamental state of matter and complex plasmadynamics expands, new technologies are being invented to solve modern problems. CUA is developing multiple plasma-based technologies to address emerging needs.

Plasma Sterilization

Plasma-generated Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) technology has strong potential for low-temperature sterilization needs in the healthcare industry, and others such as wearable consumer electronics, where decontamination is necessary. CUA has developed the Singlet-oxygen Plasma Afterglow Reaction Chamber (SPARC) to address these needs. A target application of our SPARC system is a compact sterilization chamber for medical equipment and personal protective equipment (PPE). Also being explored is the use of SPARC technology for decontamination of NASA sample collection equipment for future space missions.

For more information, see the video above.

Plasma Actuators

CUA’s active Cyclotronic Arc Plasma Actuator (CAPA) technology (co-patented with the University of Illinois) can be flush mounted into an aircraft wing to eliminate the drag penalty of passive vortex generators while having active safety control. Testing with a UAV demonstrated improved stall characteristics. These “on-demand” actuators are also being investigated for use with plasma assisted combustion and sterilizer applications.

Plasma Assisted Combustion

Plasmas have demonstrated the ability to improve flame stability and extend lean flame blow-off limits to lower fuel-to-air equivalence ratios (reduced fuel consumption). Plasma-assisted combustion (PAC) techniques may also reduce acoustic noise.  Application of matured plasma-assisted combustion and ignition technology may be a route to cleaner and more efficient use of fossil fuels and variants of our Cyclotronic Arc Plasma Actuator (CAPA) technology are being investigated for these purposes.

Learn More

To learn more about our plasma-based systems for your application(s), please contact Joseph Zimmerman at