This experiment which I am gonna talk about is done by so many people since decades. But no one had a correct or accurate explanation. Now, scientists know that what’s the reason behind this and how does it work. Before going for the experiment let us understand what is PLASMA?
What is PLASMA?
Plasma is a state of matter. There are four natural states of matter, solid, liquid, gas and plasma. The fifth one is man-made which is Bose-Einstein condensate.
Plasma and gas are thought to be same but actually they are different. A gas is made up of neutral molecules and atoms. That is, the number of positive and negative charges are equal. But that’s not the case with plasma. Plasma is a charged gas. It is made up of atoms with electrons stripped away and positively charged nuclei, called ions, roam freely. The energy emitted by the electrons(ripped) is evident in the form of heat energy. Plasma makes up the Sun and stars, and it is the most common state of matter in the universe as a whole. Don’t mistake this plasma as ‘blood plasma’. Blood plasma is altogether a different thing.
Now that you have understood what is plasma, lets get further.
Generating PLASMA from grapes in a MICROWAVE region.
You might be thinking how can we create plasma or generate energy without even touching a grape. I would like to tell you that all this happens in a microwave region or in simple terms, in microwave oven. Microwave is an electromagnetic radiation.
Two grapes(either whole or cut) are placed side by side using a watch glass in a microwave region. The frequency of microwave is around 2.45 GHz (2.45 * 10^9 Hz). Thus, its wavelength (length of 1 wave passing at a given time) is 12 cm.
But that’s outside the grape. What happens inside the grape is quite interesting. The refractive index of a grape in microwave region is about 10. So, by doing some math we get that the wavelength of microwave inside the grape becomes 1.2 cm instead of 12 cm outside the grape. What’s interesting is the size of grape(small-sized) is also around 1.2 cm. We can conclude that the frequency of grape as well the microwave (inside the grape) is same. This frequency is known as ‘resonant frequency‘. At this frequency the grape starts to heat. The food which you cook in the microwave oven is also an application of this principle. It’s simple science. Now you can call yourself a science geek after knowing all this.(haha..).
But the food does not generate plasma, right? So how does a grape generate it? See the video below:
At this time the grape starts trapping the microwaves and after some time they are concentrated at the contact of the two grapes which then ionizes the air to create ‘plasma‘. As I said before, microwaves are electromagnetic radiation. All this electromagnetic radiation oscillates at the contact of two grapes and it is strong enough to ionize the air and create plasma. It’s like ‘total internal reflection’ going on inside the grape. The grape acts like a sphere filled with water. Since the refractive index is much larger, the electromagnetic radiation is trapped inside the grape generating so much heat energy, enough to ionize the air and create plasma. Watch the video below.
Now all this specifically does not require grapes. It can also be done by a Hydrogel bead. Hydrogel bead increases in size when soaked in water for a long time(remember those tiny colored balls which increased in size when soaked in water before we broke it..). Anyway, watch the video below to know how it looks.
You might be thinking why I included this topic in a tech blog. Does it have any relation with technology? Yes, it does. Let’s see what is the application of this research.
This research will help us to continue Moore’s Law and it will be helpful in Lithography. If light is used instead of microwaves, then we can concentrate it to a distance of a few ‘nanometers’ away which can make our computer chips even smaller than they are today.
That’s all for now. If you like this blog, then please share it to other people in your group. See you soon in the blog post, till then WASH YOUR HANDS and stay home.
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