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Graphene-based air filters trap bacteria, fungi and toxins and kill them with heat

A group of scientists at Rice University have used laser-induced graphene plates (LIG) to produce self-stabilizing filters that capture and kill bacteria. They do this with small and light electrical pulses that heat the surface sufficiently to kill the pathogens.

According to the same filter manufacturer, researcher James Tour, it could be particularly useful in hospitals, as it is not uncommon for an infection with antibiotic-resistant bacteria to occur during a hospital stay in these public places. This filter device can capture not only bacteria, but also fungi, spores and various endotoxins, as well as other biological contaminants that can “float” in the air.

The same filter, according to the researchers who created it, does not require much energy to function and can warm up in a few seconds and return to normal temperature. It is based on a pure carbon conductive foam as thin as an atom and made of ordinary polyimide plates treated with an industrial laser.

The same method that led to the creation of this air filter can be used to manufacture water filters and components for various applications, especially electronics and triboelectric nanogenerators. The filter can reach a temperature of 300°C, which is considered sufficient to capture some endotoxins, for example, as indicated in the same tour.


Background info and sources:

https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acsnano.9b05983

Image source:

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/content/images/articles/326/326610/scientist-examining-bacteria-in-petri-dish.jpg

Kelly Owen

Kelly majored in English Literature and is responsible for assisting in proofreading, editing and research, as well as for web design and the maintenance of this website. Beyond her outstanding writing skills, she has like the rest of us a passion for science and science reporting. She is an avid reader of many scientific journals and magazines, especially Scientific American. In her spare time she also enjoys reading fiction and hopes to complete her own novel in 2020.
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