In situ generation of plasma-activated aerosols via surface acoustic wave nebulization for portable spray-based surface bacterial inactivation

Kiing S. Wong, William T.H. Lim, Chien W. Ooi, Leslie Y. Yeo, Ming K. Tan

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    The presence of reactive species in plasma-activated water is known to induce oxidative stresses in bacterial species, which can result in their inactivation. By integrating a microfludic chipscale nebulizer driven by surface acoustic waves (SAWs) with a low-temperature atmospheric plasma source, we demonstrate an efficient technique forin situproduction and application of plasma-activated aerosols for surface disinfection. Unlike bulk conventional systems wherein the water is separately batch-treated within a container, we show in this work the first demonstration of continuous plasma-treatment of water as it is transported through a paper strip from a reservoir onto the chipscale SAW device. The significantly larger surface area to volume ratio of the water within the paper strip leads to a significant reduction in the duration of the plasma-treatment, while maintaining the concentration of the reactive species. The subsequent nebulization of the plasma-activated water by the SAW then allows the generation of plasma-activated aerosols, which can be directly sprayed onto the contaminated surface, therefore eliminating the storage of the plasma-activated water and hence circumventing the typical limitation in conventional systems wherein the concentration of the reactive species diminishes over time during storage, resulting in a reduction in the efficacy of bacterial inactivation. In particular, we show up to 96% reduction inEscherichia colicolonies through direct spraying with the plasma-activated aerosols. This novel, low-cost, portable and energy-efficient hybrid system necessitates only minimal maintenance as it only requires the supply of tap water and battery power for operation, and is thus suitable for decontamination in home environments.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1856-1868
    Number of pages13
    JournalLab on a Chip
    Issue number10
    Publication statusPublished - 21 May 2020

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