What is plasma medicine?

Hiden Analytical's Molecular Beam Mass Spectrometry (MBMS) systems are optimized for the precise analysis of hydrated cluster species and reactive oxygen and nitrogen species derived from atmospheric cold plasma treatment systems.

The multidisciplinary field of plasma medicine focuses on the therapeutic uses of plasma, or ionized gas, including wound healing, cancer treatment, and disinfection.1-3

These applications can be broadly categorized into three groups:

  • Plasma-assisted preparation of biocompatible surfaces
  • Direct therapeutic application of atmospheric-pressure plasma in vivo
  • Plasma decontamination and sterilization in medical environments

The production of 'cold plasma' at atmospheric pressure is fundamental to enabling in vivo therapeutic plasma medicine. Cold (or non-thermal) plasma refers to ionized gas in which the dissociated electrons possess high temperatures while the ions and neutral atoms remain slightly above room temperature.

Producing cold plasma at atmospheric pressure enables its direct application to living tissue, where it is able to selectively inactivate or kill microorganisms without damaging or heating surrounding tissue.

Additionally, a range of other plasma-cell and plasma-tissue interactions can also be produced, such as selective inactivation or destruction of mammalian cells and detachment of cells from matrices and cell clusters.4

Low Pressure and Atmospheric Plasma's

Video Credit: Hiden Analytical

Cold atmospheric plasmas for wound healing

One prominent focus of current research in this field is wound healing and the treatment of pathogenic skin diseases. Atmospheric cold plasma has demonstrated its ability to reduce bacterial load on wound sites while promoting tissue regeneration, thus accelerating the healing process.

The mechanisms of plasma-cell and plasma-tissue interactions are complex and are the subject of a growing body of recent research.

However, research has shown that major biological plasma effects are caused by plasma-induced changes to the liquid environment of cells and tissues and by reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reactive nitrogen species (RNS) in the plasma.

Various experimental setups and plasma sources have been employed in medical plasma research, offering tunable parameters such as power, gas species, and gas flow rate to investigate the effects of different plasma modifications.

Specifically designed for the analysis and characterization of atmospheric plasmas, the HPR-60 molecular beam mass spectrometer features a three-stage skimmer cone configuration.

This configuration enables pressure reduction to ultra-high vacuum (UHV) for mass and energy analysis while establishing a supersonic 'silent' region behind the first skimmer cone, effectively preventing further collisions and interactions of the species sampled by the MS system.

The composition and quantity of plasma-generated ROS and RNS depend on specific parameters of the plasma source and device, including working gas composition, power input, and distance from the plasma source.

The HPR-60 enables direct and efficient characterization of the effects of these parameters on plasma properties.

The HPR-60 system can be fitted with the EQP or EPIC ranges of Hiden mass spectrometers. These support mass options up to 5000 amu – making the system ideal for analyzing hydrated cluster species that have been found to form in atmospheric plasma processes.


  1. von Woedtke, Th., Metelmann, H.-R. & Weltmann, K.-D. Clinical Plasma Medicine: State and Perspectives of in Vivo Application of Cold Atmospheric Plasma: Clinical Plasma Medicine: State and Perspectives of in Vivo Application of Cold Atmospheric Plasma. Contrib. Plasma Phys. 54, 104–117 (2014).
  2. Kong, M. G. et al. Plasma medicine: an introductory review. New J. Phys. 11, 115012 (2009).
  3. Fridman, G. et al. Applied Plasma Medicine. Plasma Processes and Polymers 5, 503–533 (2008).
  4. von Woedtke, Th., Reuter, S., Masur, K. & Weltmann, K.-D. Plasmas for medicine. Physics Reports 530, 291–320 (2013).

About Hiden Analytical

Hiden Analytical was founded in 1981 and is presently situated in a 2,130 m2 manufacturing plant in Warrington, England with a staff of over 50. As a privately owned company their reputation is built on creating close and positive relationships with their clients. Many of these customers are working at the forefront of new technology - in the fields of plasma research, surface science, vacuum processing and gas analysis. To maintain this reputation we have, over the years, established exceptional levels of technical expertise in these areas within the company.

Hiden Analytical is committed to providing systems which meet specifications of both new and existing clients, but further, enable the advancement of their work, whether it be pure research or the improvements or monitoring of products and process performance. Hiden Analytical have a common vision, not only to supply the systems and instruments with first class performance specifications, long term reliability and professional service support, but also, and in many cases more importantly, to maintain close contact to ensure that our systems provide all that our customers expect, and more, from their investment in their organisation.

Hiden has had an ISO 9001 Quality System since 27 June 1995, registered through National Quality Assurance Ltd., which itself is accredited by the UK’s national standardisation agency UKAS (UK Accreditation Service). The system has been reviewed since then by assessor visits every nine months, including on-site installation. The Quality System was upgraded to the new ISO 9000:2000 standard in late 2002.

Other notable products cover residual gas analysis to ultra high vacuum (UHV) levels with the HAL series of quadrupole mass spectrometers. For plasma diagnostics, the EQP combined mass / energy analyser and ESPION advanced Langmuir probe are market leaders. Gas and liquid analysis from atmospheric pressure or process pressures is achieved by the QIC series of instruments incorporating the acclaimed quartz inlet capillary (QIC). The latest development is the CATLAB microreactor module for the combined roles of catalyst characterisation and rapid, reproducible screening of catalyst activity.

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Last updated: Sep 15, 2023 at 10:35 AM


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