At this week’s AVS 57th International Symposium & Exhibition in Albuquerque, New Mexico, researchers from two different research institutes presented new types of antibacterial materials. One could allow users to kill bacteria by simply flipping on the overhead lights, while another does so by combining modern technology with ancient medicine.
A representative from the University of New Mexico presented her teams’ findings on using a new polymer, “conjugated polyelectrolyte (CPE) with an arylene-ethynylene repeat-unit structure,” to kill antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteria – S. aureus is responsible for about 19,000 deaths every year in the U.S. alone.
Although CPE does have antibacterial qualities, the researchers found that some types of the polymer are inert towards bacteria in the dark, thus allowing for the possibility of CPE-coated countertops that could be sterilized simply by turning on regular fluorescent room lights. Although it was previously not known if CPEs were harmful to the cells of people or animals, in-vitro testing has so far indicated that they are safe.