Plasma-clad paper cases will rid humanity of harmful bacteria

We humans are almost ready to admit defeat - microorganisms have learned to adapt to antibiotics. But we are not going to lose this war in principle, so instead of creating super-drugs, we are paying more and more attention to technologies for disinfecting everything and everyone. The problem is that a huge amount of assorted equipment cannot be simply boiled, irradiated or otherwise sterilized.

There are already sensors that can autonomously detect E. coli bacteria and send the punishing hand of the defense system to them, but its operation is not cheap. At Rutgers University, a different approach was proposed - to cover everything of value with covers with an active plasma shell, which will mercilessly destroy everything living and small on its surface.

The technology is not too tricky: a grid of aluminum conductors are laid in the paper sheet, through which a high-voltage charge is passed. This leads to the ionization of gases around them, when individual ions are detached from atoms, forming a tiny cloud of plasma. At low energy costs, this is enough to burn out microbes on the surface of such a paper case.

A combination of heat radiation, ultraviolet radiation and ozone will kill bacteria, and thanks to the fibrous structure of the paper, the plasma envelope will be able to penetrate into the upper layers of the coating. And even stay there for a while, while the system recharges and cools down. In the experiments of the Rutgers scientists, a form of genocide was created, when a paper-plasma trap destroyed 99% of the yeast microbes Saccharomyces cerevisiae and the same amount of E. Coli.

The result is a cheap, soft, flexible coating that cleans itself with several shocks of electric current. The efficiency of using plasma against bacteria is noticeably higher than that of traditional sterilization methods, but the question of spore survival remains. But even if scientists fail, they will not abandon the idea of ​​creating simple and effective active antimicrobial covers for everything. From clothing and medical equipment to almost sidewalks on the streets of cities of the future.