Scientific breakthroughs tend to come in spurts when unique societal, economical, and political circumstances conspire (knowingly or unknowingly) and create an environment ripe for creativity. The field of low temperature plasma (LTP) recently experienced such an upheaval, which this paper attempts to relate in some details. There have been “roadmap” papers published before, which look towards the future of the field, but all roads start somewhere and even “new” roads are often paved over older roads that were discovered and traveled by early pioneers. With the sharp decrease in funding for fusion research in the USA in the early 1990s the plasma science community was faced with a dire situation that threatened to choke off plasma physics advances. However, in the background and far from the visibility accorded to fusion research, a few laboratories were quietly engaged in innovative research that in due time revolutionized the LTP field and breathed new life into plasma science. Groundbreaking applications of LTP were investigated that until today constitute most of the LTP research activities. These innovations spanned a wide spectrum that included the invention of novel devices, improvement of existing ones, and the deployment of these devices to areas ranging from industrial to biomedical applications. These efforts turned out to have impactful scientific and societal implications. In this paper plasma sources and applications developed during this uniquely innovative decade are briefly discussed.
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