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

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: Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.

Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...

Im Focus: An energy-efficient way to stay warm: Sew high-tech heating patches to your clothes

Personal patches could reduce energy waste in buildings, Rutgers-led study says

What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...

Im Focus: Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells

A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.

The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...

Im Focus: New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions

A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...

Im Focus: Topological material switched off and on for the first time

Key advance for future topological transistors

Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

14.12.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Tangled magnetic fields power cosmic particle accelerators

14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

In search of missing worlds, Hubble finds a fast evaporating exoplanet

14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>