A Rutgers-led team has invented an inexpensive, effective way to kill bacteria and sanitize surfaces with devices made of paper.
“Paper is an ancient material, but it has unique attributes for new, high-tech applications,” said Aaron Mazzeo, an assistant professor in Rutgers’ Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. “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.”
The researchers detail their invention in a study published online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. A video detailing the work is also available on YouTube.
In the future, paper-based sanitizers may be suitable for clothing that sterilizes itself, devices that sanitize laboratory equipment and smart bandages to heal wounds, among other uses, the study says. The motivation for this study was to create personal protective equipment that might contain the spread of infectious diseases, such as the devastating 2014 outbreak of Ebola in West Africa.