Mass flow controller from MKS Instruments helps to study plasma in space


MKS Instruments, Inc., a global provider of instruments, subsystems and process control solutions, has had its GE50A mass flow controller (MFC) products installed in the PK-4 Plasma Crystal Laboratory in the International Space Station (ISS).

The MFC is part of the latest experiment interface (ExpIF) extension of the PK-4 laboratory that was installed in the European Columbus Research Module of the ISS on 23rd July, 2018. This mission was carried out under a programme funded by the European Space Agency.

The PK-4 Plasma Crystal Laboratory was launched in 2014 to conduct an ongoing series of experiments to determine the behaviour of low-temperature plasmas in space. PK-4 generates complex plasma crystals in a glass tube filled with inert gas. The data derived from various experiments with these complex plasmas can provide new insights into the physics of condensed materials, help to answer fundamental astrophysical questions and enable future applications in semiconductor technology and medicine.

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