[extropy-chat] plasma vs microorganisms

Dirk Bruere dirk.bruere at gmail.com
Sun Oct 16 01:34:24 UTC 2005

On 10/16/05, Damien Broderick <thespike at satx.rr.com> wrote:
> from The Virginian-Pilot - Hampton Roads, Virginia, USA
> <http://tinyurl.com/9hz7b>http://tinyurl.com/9hz7b
> October 15, 2005
> ODU Pioneer Refines Healing Power Of Plasma
> By Philip Walzer
> Old Dominion University researcher Mounir Laroussi,
> an associate professor of electrical and computer
> engineering, has developed a "plasma pencil,"
> The pencil, a hand-held cylinder 5 inches long and one inch in
> diameter, passed its first test: It can kill E. coli bacteria
> but leaves skin cells unscathed.
> "When we got this to work," Laroussi said this week, "we knew we
> were sitting on something really special."
> He says this is just the beginning. The device, he hopes, will
> do even more: cleansing and healing wounds, treating dental
> plaque, even killing cancer tumors without damaging the
> surrounding tissue.
> Like the whirling electrons and ions that Laroussi has studied
> for nearly 15 years, scientists have been buzzing since his
> paper was published last month in the journal Applied Physics
> Letters .
> His progress has been reported on Web sites such as
> <http://www.nature.com>www.nature.com <http://www.nature.com> and
> < http://www.physicsweb.org>www.physicsweb.org <http://www.physicsweb.org>.
> A plasma researcher in New Mexico calls Laroussi a pioneer in
> the field.
> "It's really the first demonstration of this technology that is
> embodied in a practical manner," said Edl Schamiloglu , a
> professor of electrical and computer engineering at the
> University of New Mexico.
> "In general," said another engineering professor, George Collins
> of Colorado State, "his plasma work is world-class and full of
> wonderful new innovations that are advancing the state of the
> art."
> Its benefits, Laroussi said, have been exploited in such items
> as fluorescent lights and semiconductor chips.
> "We wanted to push plasma where it hasn't been before, which is
> biotechnology," he said.
> First, he needed to cool it off. In its normal state, at
> hundreds of degrees Celsius, the plasma could burn away the good
> with the bad.
> So he brought it down to room temperature. That way, it can kill
> the bacteria. But it doesn't harm healthy cells.
> Laroussi proved the point at his lab this week.
> He turned on the power for the pencil. A narrow, 2-inch-long
> purple beam =96 Laroussi calls it a "plume" =96 shot out of it. He
> brought it across the hands of two visitors.
> Nothing happened. No singed flesh.
> He's done this with hundreds of others. The first guinea pig was
> Laroussi himself.
> Of course, he wasn't scared. "I know what I have," he said.
> Schamiloglu , the New Mexico professor, said the pencil improves
> upon two previous inventions in plasma research.
> One was a "plasma torch." It was too unwieldy, he said. And,
> running on uncooled plasma, it could get too hot to handle.
> The other was a "plasma needle" the size of a syringe. Much
> easier to maneuver. But also prone to pricking the fingers of
> even the most scrupulous technician.
> "The plasma pencil represents a good compromise," Schamiloglu
> said. "It's always satisfying to see something practical emerge
> from basic research in universities."
> Laroussi has received nearly half a million dollars in federal
> grants for his work. His spacious lab is on the fifth floor of
> the Norfolk Public Health Center on Brambleton Avenue, off
> Colley Avenue. The lab is part of the Frank Reidy Research
> Center for Bioelectrics , a partnership between Old Dominion and
> Eastern Virginia Medical School.
> Laroussi has collaborated with a postdoctoral research
> associate, Xinpei Lu , and he has begun working with other ODU
> professors in the areas of biology, oceanography and dental
> hygiene.
> One of them, Wayne Hynes , an associate professor of biological
> sciences, also holds high hopes.
> "If it works and doesn't do any tissue damage," Hynes said, "it
> would potentially be able to kill the organisms associated with
> plaque and therefore decrease tooth decay and gingivitis."

Sounds like a fancy way of describing an ion wind from a point source.
The killer would be ozone.

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