How is plasma made?



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    Plasma is a scientific term referring to gases like neon and xenon which glow when exposed to an electrical field. Plasma is sometimes called the fourth state of matter, after liquids, solids and gases. Think of a neon sign or fluorescent light bulb to understand plasma as it applies here.

    Televisions in general rely on thousands of small ‘picture elements’, abbreviated as pixels. With any color television, a bundle of three separate colors comprise one pixel, usually red, green and blue. By controlling the level of each color, all of the other colors of the spectrum can be produced in each pixel. The viewer is usually so far from the screen that the individual pixels blur into each other and the illusion of motion is created as they change color. This is true of any television system, plasma or otherwise.

    In a plasma TV, the individual pixels are made from three tiny containers of an inert gas such as neon or xenon. There are literally hundreds of thousands of these tiny tubes on an average plasma TV screen. All of these individual pixels are sandwiched between two electrically-charged plates. Remember that plasma glows when exposed to an electrical current. A computer processing unit receives signals from a cable or broadcast antenna which tells it how to reassemble the entire picture hundreds of times per second.

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