A new kind of sanitizing technology is being developed by researchers looking to make deep cleaning faster and easier. The New York Times reports that room temperature plasma, a gas commonly found in neon signs and TV displays, can act as an effective sanitizer, killing bacteria, viruses and fungi in a mere four seconds.
The Times explains:
Plasmas engineered to zap microorganisms aren’t new. During the last decade, they have come into use to sterilize some medical instruments. But using them on human tissue is another matter, said Mark Kushner, director of the Michigan Institute for Plasma Science and Engineering and a professor at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. “Many thousands of volts drive the generation of plasma,” he said, “and normally one doesn’t want to touch thousands of volts.” But the design of the new hand sanitizers, he said, protects people from doing so. Reassured by that design, about five years ago he put his naked thumb into a jet of microbe-destroying plasma at the lab of another plasma researcher.