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PLASMOSE - antimicrobial effects of modular atmospheric plasma sources

Author(s): Ehlbeck, Jörg | Brandenburg, Ronny | von Woedtke, Thomas | Krohmann, Udo | Stieber, Manfred | Weltmann, Klaus-Dieter

Journal: GMS Krankenhaushygiene Interdisziplinär
ISSN 1863-5245

Volume: 3;
Issue: 1;
Start page: Doc14;
Date: 2008;
Original page

Keywords: plasma jet | microwave plasma | sterilization | decontamination | non-thermal plasmas

The technological potential of non-thermal plasmas for the antimicrobial treatment of heat sensitive materials is well known and has been documented in a great number of research activities, but the realisation of industrial plasma-based decontamination processes remains a great challenge. One of the reasons for this situation is the fact that an antimicrobial treatment process needs to consider all properties of the product to be treated as well as the requirements of the complete procedure, e.g. a reprocessing of a medical instrument. The aim of the BMBF-funded network project PLASMOSE is to demonstrate the applicability of plasma-based processes for the antimicrobial treatment on selected, heat sensitive products. Modular and selective plasma sources, driven at atmospheric pressure are used. This basic approach shall combine the technological advantages of atmospheric pressure plasmas (avoidance of vacuum devices and batch processing) with the flexibility and handling properties of modular devices.Two different objectives were selected: the outer surface treatment of medical products and the treatment of hollow packaging for pharmaceutical products. The outer surface treatment of medical products, in particular catheters for intracardial electrophysiological studies, is investigated by means of RF-driven plasma jets in argon. Due to its compact design they are predestined for modularisation and can be adapted to nearly any complex 3-dimensional structure as given by the medical products. The realisation of an antimicrobial treatment process of hollow packaging for pharmaceutical products has quite different demands. Such a process is needed to be implemented in in-line filling procedures and to work without additional process gases. The idea is to use an atmospheric air, microwave-driven self propagating discharge. The plasma process is optimized for the decontamination of 200 ml bottles by field simulation studies combined with optical emissions spectroscopy and micro-biological tests.
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