Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Non-damaging and efficient: plasma steriliser for medical and aerospace applications

02.02.2015

Traditional sterilisation methods are no longer effective against all pathogens. By means of plasma, on the other hand, exceptionally stubborn bacteria stems can be killed off, as demonstrated by Junior Professor Dr Katharina Stapelmann from the Institute for Electrical Engineering and Plasma Technology. She has developed a steriliser that is specifically suited for ridding medical instruments of germs efficiently, yet without damaging the material. As reported in the RUB’s science magazine “RUBIN”, the process is also interesting for the aerospace industry.

Perfect fit for medical applications


Plasma – the state of matter with the highest energy level – is familiar to many in nature in the form of fire. Using cold plasmas, many items can be efficiently sterilised.

RUBIN, photo: Gorczany

Stapelmann designed the sterilisation chamber as a drawer with a surface in DIN-A4 format to hold standard tablets for medical instruments. The drawer may also be used as a sterile container. “You can, for example, put a set that’s going to be used in an appendectomy into the device, sterilise it and store the closed container in the cupboard right until surgery,” explains the researcher.

Compared with traditional processes, plasma sterilisation is more energy saving, faster and does not require any harmful radiation or carcinogenic chemicals. Unlike autoclaves, which apply moist heat, the process can be deployed for synthetic components, and it does not damage metal items which an autoclave blunts within a short space of time. A prototype of the steriliser is already available. What is now missing is an industrial partner who will make the product market-ready.

Germ-free in space

In order to prevent germs from the Earth from getting into space, and germs from space from getting to Earth, it is standard practice to sterilise all aerospace materials. However, not all pathogens are destroyed by this multi-stage process.

In collaboration with the German Aerospace Center, Katharina Stapelmann tested her method for metal screws which were riddled with the spores of the particularly stubborn bacterium Bacillus pumilis SAFR032.

This bacteria stem has demonstrated the to-date highest resistance against traditional sterilisation methods, such as autoclaves, chemical treatment or UV radiation. The plasma treatment, however, destroyed all germs within the space of only five minutes at a temperature of 60 degrees centigrade.

Detailed article in the science magazine RUBIN

A detailed article with pictures can be found in the online magazine RUBIN, the RUB’s science magazine: http://rubin.rub.de/en/germ-free-space. Text and images in the download page are free for use for editorial purposes, provided the relevant copyright notice is included. You would like to receive a notification when new RUBIN articles are published? Then subscribe to our news feed at http://rubin.rub.de/feed/rubin-en.rss.

About Katharina Stapelmann

Katharina Stapelmann was appointed Junior Professor at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology on February 1, 2015, and she heads the group “Plasma Technology in Biomedical Applications”. In December 2013, she obtained her doctorate summa cum laude with the thesis “Plasma technical and microbiological characterization of newly developed VHF plasmas”. Following her graduation in Electrical Engineering and Information Technology, she worked since 2009 as researcher at the Institute for Electrical Engineering and Plasma Technology, headed by Prof Dr-Ing. Peter Awakowicz, at RUB.

Further information

Junior Professor Dr-Ing. Katharina Stapelmann, Institute for Electrical Engineering and Plasma Technology, Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology at the Ruhr-Universität, 44780 Bochum, Germany, phone: +49/234/32-29445, email: stapelmann@aept.rub.de

One click away

More plasma research in RUBIN
http://rubin.rub.de/en/making-synthetic-materials-more-impervious

Dr. Julia Weiler | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Waste from paper and pulp industry supplies raw material for development of new redox flow batteries
12.10.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

nachricht Low-cost battery from waste graphite
11.10.2017 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Electrode materials from the microwave oven

19.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

New material for digital memories of the future

19.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

Physics boosts artificial intelligence methods

19.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>