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Integration of microplasma sources in portable systems sets constraints in the amount of power and vacuum levels employed in these plasma sources. Moreover, in order to achieve good power efficiency and prevent physical deterioration of the source, it is desirable to keep the discharge temperature low. In this paper, the thermal characteristics of an atmospheric argon discharge generated with a low-power microwave plasma source are investigated to determine its possible integration in portable systems. The source is based on a microstrip split-ring resonator and is similar to the one reported by Iza and Hopwood, 2003. Rotational, vibrational, and excitation temperatures are measured by means of optical emission spectroscopy. It is found that the discharge at atmospheric pressure presents a rotational temperature of ∼300 K, while the excitation temperature is ∼0.3 eV (∼3500 K). Therefore, the discharge is clearly not in thermal equilibrium. The low rotational temperature allows for efficient air-cooled operation and makes this device suitable for portable applications including those with tight thermal specifications such as treatment of biological materials.