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Disinfection describes neutralization of infectious matter. This implies a reduction of the microbial load such that no infection risk any more originates from a surface (e.g. an object of skin). By definition this state is reached with a germ reduction of at least factor 10^5. There are several procedures for disinfection.

One of the most common is the chemical disinfection, e.g. wiping surfaces with alcohol or other disinfection solutions. However, with chemical disinfection the toxicity and material compatibility are critical. The established method for the reprocessing of medical devices are thermal disinfection processes, which are chemically harmless, but unsuited for thermo-unstable materials. A hot issue is the use of UV-light, which is well suited for specialized applications where shadows can be avoided.

Plasmadisinfection is a special case because it cannot be attributed to a single category. The main effect is based on the reactive species, especially ozone and hydrogen peroxide. Additionally, a small amount of UV-light is generated. It has however only a low intensity and a short effective range, therefore it has only little impact on the antimicrobial effect. Depending on the plasma system, the local temperature may influence the disinfection properties.

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