Issue 8, November 2010
bulletPlasma Medicine for a Cleaner and Healthier Tomorrow
bulletInterview: Prof. Dr. Klaus-Dieter Weltmann
bulletPlasma Medicine: Scientific Challenges and Technological Opportunities
bulletInnovation: Plasma Pen
bulletPlasma Technology against  Germs
bulletResearch Department "Plasmas with Complex Interactions" at Ruhr-University Bochum
TopPlasma Medicine for a Cleaner and Healthier Tomorrow
Unbeknownst to many, plasma is more than a flourescent component of TV screens and electronics. It has the potential to disinfect, heal wounds, and generate tissue. The plasma effect on cells is also very different from antibiotics, which leads to the hope of a cure against multi-resistant strains of bacteria, a common concern in hospitals. In physics and chemistry plasma is known as the fourth state of matter and consists of a collection of free moving electrons and ions.
Plasma medicine is an emerging field of research which aims to understand the interaction of plasmas with living tissue and cells. Plasma medicine shows promise in the area of increased and accelerated wound healing, a market worth at least $ 2.5 billion, according to Prof. Dr. Klaus-Dieter Weltmann. One of the editors-in-chief of the new Plasma Medicine Journal, which was first published in October 2010, Prof. Weltmann, who also heads the Leibniz Institute for Plasma Science and Technology in Greifswald, Germany, will speak at the German Center for Research and Innovation on December 8. In the GCRI-Interview below, he talks about current developments, breakthroughs and opportunities in plasma medicine in Germany and the U.S. Another group that has conducted groundbreaking research on plasma and its use in medicine is the Plasma Health Care group at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, Germany. At the university level, research on plasma medicine is being conducted by the German Research Foundation-supported group Physics of Microplasmas at Ruhr-University Bochum.

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Prof. Weltmann

segment2GCRI-Interview with Prof. Dr. Klaus-Dieter Weltmann
At the Leibniz Institute for Plasma Science and Technology (INP Greifswald e.V.), research and application go hand in hand. INP Greifswald is the largest non-university institute in the area of low temperature plasmas in Europe. It focuses on basic research and technical applications. Current research priorities include environmental and energy engineering, surfaces and materials as well as interdisciplinary topics in biology and medicine, specially-designed plasma sources, plasma modelling and diagnostics. Prof. Dr. Klaus-Dieter Weltmann has been the head of the INP Greifswald since 2003. On December 8, he will speak at the GCRI about "Plasma Medicine: Scientific Challenges and Technological Opportunities". In the GCRI-Interview, he discusses current developments, breakthroughs and opportunities in plasma medicine and about his collaboration with the U.S. To learn more about Prof. Weltmann and to read the interview, please click here.   

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segment3Event: "Plasma Medicine: Scientific Challenges and Technological Opportunities"  
Plasma medicine is an emerging, interdisciplinary field that is beginning to have a significant impact on health care. Practical applications of plasma medicine currently being investigated include, among others: inducing rapid blood coagulation; killing bacteria, sterilizing wounds, medical instruments, and implants; and selectively modifying living cells and tissue. A panel of German and U.S. experts from the Leibniz Institute for Plasma Science and Technology (INP Greifswald) and Drexel University will discuss the status, perspectives and challenges of this developing field. The panel will be moderated by Prof. Kurt Becker, Associate Provost for Research & Technology Initiatives and Professor of Physics at NYU-Polytechnic Institute. Nadja Dahlhaus, INP Greifswald, will introduce the largest German research cluster for plasma medicine, "Campus PlasmaMed". Prof. Gary Friedman, Drexel University, will speak about plasma medicine research at Drexel University. Dr. Van Thompson of the NYU College of Dentistry will discuss plasma in dental applications. Prof. Alexander Fridman, Drexel University, and Prof. Klaus-Dieter Weltmann, INP Greifswald, will address the status, perspectives, and challenges for plasma medicine on both sides of the Atlantic. To view the event invitation and to RSVP, please click here.

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Plasma Pen

segment4Innovation: Plasma Pen for Cleaning, Decontaminating and Healing Surfaces
The kINPen@, which was developed at the Leibniz Institute for Plasma Science and Technology in Greifswald, Germany, is a plasma source primarily developed and designed for multiple applications, such as cleaning, activation or decontamination of surfaces.
The handy, compact and mobile jet of the kINPen@ can be applied precisely and thus qualifies for the treatment of complex surfaces and hard-to-reach indentations. Small-scale 2D and 3D surfaces can be pre-treated and finished, as in the fusion of small-diameter capillary tubes.
Due to its adjustable temperature from 25C to 60C, the kINPen@ is suitable for temperature-sensitive surfaces, for example plastics used in medicine and the food industry as well as in living tissue.
The use of plasma sources working at atmospheric pressure for medical applications is gaining increased attention - and the kINPen@ shows promise as a tool for tissue engineering, healing of chronic wounds, treatment of skin diseases and tumors and dental applications. For more information, please click here.

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Plasma Technology - weapon in the battle against bacteria

segment5Plasma Technology against Germs
A team of scientists working with Professor Gregor Morfill, Director at the Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, Germany, has developed a range of plasma devices and prototypes that can be used to kill bacteria and fungi. The devices generate plasma that can selectively kill germs and stimulate wound healing at the same time. If a plasma device is held over an open wound on the body, the plasma flows like a waft of air over the wound, killing the bacteria in and around it in a contactless and painless procedure. It can even be used to treat drug-resistant bacterial colonies or nosocomial infections (hospital infections) in patients. The new method causes no side-effects, pain or allergic reactions, as revealed in a study of more than 1,600 patients.
Another promising field of application for the plasma devices, which are also available as small handheld prototypes, is the disinfection of temperature-sensitive surfaces, such as human skin. Doctors and hospital staff can disinfect their hands in seconds without the need for any tinctures, ointments or sprays. The handy dispensers can also be used in the home to disinfect cuts and guard against periodontal disease. For contact and further information, please visit the Max-Planck-Innovation website.

Picture: Plasma Technology - weapon in the battle against bacteria (Source: MPI for Extraterrestrial Physics, Dr. Tetsuji Shimizu)

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Plama at RUB

segment6Research Department "Plasmas with Complex Interactions" at Ruhr-University Bochum
In recent years, plasma physics and plasma technology have become prominent research fields at the Ruhr-University Bochum (RUB). The multi-disciplinary faculty Research Department (RD) "Plasmas with Complex Interactions" explores poorly understood scientific areas, characterized by the complex interactions of plasmas with the media into which they are embedded and by their interactions with the bounding structures and materials, respectively. The RD carries plasma techniques and methods well beyond their traditional limits by exploring the interactions between solid state physics, materials science, chemistry, biology, and astronomy.
The RD consists of four sections: Low Temperature Plasmas and Microplasmas; High Energy Plasma and Astrophysics; Weakly Magnetized Technological Plasmas; and Modelling, Theory and Computational Plasma Physics. Plasma research at RUB is represented by a total of 11 full professorships in the Faculty of Physics and Astronomy and in the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology, making them the largest plasma-oriented group of scientists at a German university. This unique concentration of expertise in applications-oriented plasma physics focuses on research topics, such as "Plasma Technologies for Biomedical Applications", "Plasma Process Development and Control" and "Plasma-Based Particle and Photon Sources". To learn more about RUB's plasma research, please click here.

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