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Progress in Plasma Processing of Materials, 2003

ISBN:
978-1-56700-192-1 (Print)
978-1-56700-447-2 (Online)

PLASMA STERILIZATION TECHNOLOGIES AND PROCESSES

E. Odic
Equipe Decharges Electriques et Environnement, Laboratoire de Physique des Gaz et des Plasmas, Universite Paris-Sud / CNRS Supelec, plateau de Moulon, 91192 Gif-sur-Yvette Cedex, FRANCE.

A. Goldman
Equipe Decharges Electriques et Environnement, Laboratoire de Physique des Gaz et des Plasmas, UMR 8578 du CNRS, Supelec, 91192 Gif-sur-Yvette Cedex, France

M. Goldman
Equipe Decharges Electriques et Environnement, Laboratoire de Physique des Gaz et des Plasmas, UMR 8578 du CNRS, Supelec, 91192 Gif-sur-Yvette Cedex, France

S. Delaveau
Equipe Decharges Electriques et Environnement, Laboratoire de Physique des Gaz et des Plasmas, UMR 8578 du CNRS, Supelec, 91192 Gif-sur-Yvette Cedex, France

F. Le Hegarat
Institut de Genetique et Microbiologie, UMR C8621 du CNRS, Universite Paris-Sud, 91405 Orsay Cedex, France

Abstract

According to an estimation of the French Health Ministry dating back to 1994, every year in France, about 1.5 % of the population entering the hospital for medical care (i.e. ~ 10 000 persons / year) are submitted to infectious agents bringing them to a fatal issue. This number is more or less the same as the number per year of the victims on the roads. This shows how crucial are the needs for efficient sterilization technologies of any object, which may be put in personal contact with the patients. The objects concerned can be of very different types, including for instance walls and floors as well as surgical instruments or material. Most hospital materials are today sterilized in autoclaves by means of high temperature water vapor treatment. But this technology can clearly not satisfy all needs and requirements, neither in the hospitals nor in the peripheral industries.
However different types of plasmas can claim to find a grade one place among the sterilization technologies. Some of them, among the thermal plasmas and among the plasmas out of equilibrium (non-thermal plasmas), at atmospheric or lower pressure in both cases, have already revealed attractive potentialities and some equipment are already appearing on the market. Our aim will be, on the basis of the literature already available, to make a survey of nowadays existing sterilization technologies and of the present time knowledge concerning the main plasma / microorganisms interaction processes on which are lying these different technologies.