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Devices Maintain Sterility with Plasma Technology

  R&D DIGEST   Researchers at the University of Florida (UFL; Gainesville) have developed a technology that not only keeps a device sterile, but also is relatively inexpensive and simple to make. It could give doctors and clinicians the ability to safely dispose of devices as well as reuse instruments and other equipment in a healthcare setting.

The technology sustains a continuous sterile state via a self-generated plasma field that takes only seconds to neutralize any contamination. It does not involve the use of toxic chemicals, as some conventional sterilization processes can require.

By using low-cost electrodes, insulators, and electroactive components, the manufacture of the technology should be cost-efficient, according to the university's technology licensing office. Enabling the reuse of certain devices could save hospitals and other healthcare sites money and inventory.

Subrata Roy, PhD, associate professor at the university's Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and Karl Robert Zawoy, assistant director for UFL's Office of Technology Licensing, invented the technology. The university is currently looking for companies that are interested in commercializing it.

The self-sterilizing technology decontaminates or sterilizes equipment and devices such as surgical instruments, catheters, and syringes. It can also be applied to surfaces of many shapes and sizes that are used in medical procedures.

For more information about commercialization opportunities, contact UFL's Office of Technology Licensing at www.otl.ufl.edu.

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