Plasma Needle to Replace Dentist Drill?

Hate going to the dentist? That drill giving you the creeps? Worry no more, physicist Eva Stoffels-Adamowicz at the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands has created a "plasma needle" that can eliminate the need to drill teeth:

The device has two electrodes, each made of a wafer-thin copper ring placed on the surface of a glass disk: the disk is about 2.5 cm across, with a minute opening at its center. These electrodes are cased in a dielectric tube and separated by a gap that can vary between 0.5 and 1 cm. When helium gas is injected into the tube and short (less than one microsecond) high-voltage pulses are applied to the electrodes, a discharge is ignited in the gap between the electrodes. This produces a plasma plume through the opening in the outer electrode. The plume remains at room temperature and you can safely touch it with your hands.

The application of cold plasma kills Streptococcus mutans (S. mutans) bacteria, which is the most important microorganism for causing cavities. In the near future, cold plasma can very well become and vital tool in biological applications. - via digg

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