The key difference between equilibrium (thermal) and non-equilibrium (low temperature – a.k.a. cold) plasmas is in the degree in which the shape of the cross sections influences the electron energy distribution function (EEDF). In this paper we will discuss the issue of kinetic phenomena from two different angles. The first will be how to take advantage of the strong influence and use low current data to obtain the cross sections. This is also known as the swarm technique and the product of a “swarm analysis” is a set of cross sections giving good number, momentum and energy balances of electrons or other charged particles. At the same time understanding the EEDF is based on the cross section data. Nevertheless sometimes the knowledge of the cross sections and even the behaviour of individual particles are insufficient to explain collective behaviour of the ensemble. The resulting “kinetic” effects may be used to favour certain properties of non-equilibrium plasmas and even may be used as the basis of some new plasma applications.

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