Use of Capillary Discharge Non Thermal Plasma for Sterilization of Material

Period of Performance: 01/01/2001 - 12/31/2001

$70K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

PlasmaSol Corporation
614 River Street
Hoboken, NJ 07030
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Abstract

Current commercial sterilization units that use plasma require the use of vacuum chambers in order to generate plasma, which is stable. PlasmaSol has developed a means to maintain stable non-thermal plasma at atmospheric pressure and direct the plasma at a surface for decontamination purposes. Non-Thermal Plasmas (NTP) are ionized gases which are far from local thermodynamic equilibrium (LTE) and are characterized by having electron mean energies much higher than those of the ambient gas molecules. In these plasmas, it is possible to preferentially direct the electrical energy in order to produce highly energetic electrons without heating the ambient gas. This energy is utilized directly to excite, dissociate and ionize the gas via electron impact. PlasmaSol LLC has demonstrated in a laboratory setting the ability to break down a variety of organic compounds associated with hazardous waste using non-thermal plasma. In theory, at the microbial level, similar destruction should be expected for a variety of cellular organisms. These include but are not limited to bacteria, spores, etc. It is the intention of this project to determine the viability of non thermal plasma for use in the control of terrestrial microbial contamination associated with robotic space vehicles.