Researchers create paper-based sanitizers

Researchers from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J., have developed paper-based sanitizers that could one day be used to create bandages that promote healing and eliminate bacteria among other novel products, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The sanitizers consist of paper coated with a thin layers of aluminum and electrodes that produce plasma, which can deactivate bacterial microbes.

"Paper is an ancient material, but it has unique attributes for new, high-tech applications," said Aaron Mazzeo, PhD, an assistant professor in the department of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Rutgers. "We found that by applying high voltage to stacked sheets of metallized paper, we were able to generate plasma, which is a combination of heat, ultraviolet radiation and ozone that kill microbes."

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In preliminary experiments, the paper-based sanitizers were able to eliminate 99 percent of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and 99.9 percent the bacteria Escherichia coli in a laboratory setting. Further research is needed to fully assess the sanitizer's bacteria killing efficacy.

"In general, these disposable plasma generators represent progress toward biodegradable devices based on flexible renewable materials, which may impact the future design of protective garments, skin-like sensors for robots or prosthetics and user interfaces in contaminated environments," wrote the study's authors.

To watch a video on the creation of the paper-based plasma sanitizers, click here.

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