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A durable, bacteria-killing surface for hospitals

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Scientists at EPFL have developed a new method for making antimicrobial surfaces that can eliminate bacteria under a minute. The technology, now tested in a hospital, shows enormous potential for preventing hospital-acquired infections.

One of the biggest problems for hospitals is maintaining a sterile environment and protecting its patients from acquiring what are known as nosocomial infections. A way to minimize or prevent this risk altogether is to cover surfaces with antimicrobial films that either kill or stop the growth of micro-organisms like bacteria, fungi or viruses. The problem is that many of these antimicrobial films are often not stable, their preparation methods are hard to industrialize, they are not uniform throughout, and can be wiped off a surface by simply passing over a cloth or a finger. Publishing in Surface & Coatings Technology, EPFL scientists have developed a way to create stable, uniform, and highly-adhesive antimicrobial films with fast antibacterial action, using a new method called Highly Ionized Pulsed Plasma Magnetron Sputtering (HiPIMS).

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