Toothbrush to check your DNA for cancer

Toothbrush to check your DNA for cancer

Toothbrush to check your DNA for cancer - feature article

Read about the ground-breaking work coming from Oxford Nanopore Technologies, who we are proud to count as one of our customers.

Nanopore Sequencers

Tiny microchips embedded in toothbrushes could soon warn us about the early onset of diseases including cancer and Alzheimer’s, technologists believe.

Known as nanopore sequencers, they analyse DNA as it passes through a tiny hole on the chip and decode it into a digital format, in a process known as “sequencing”. These digital readings can then be assessed against genetic markers that are known to indicate disease.

The sequencers are becoming smaller and could soon be embedded in any product or device that comes into contact with human DNA.

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Leading eye hospital chooses plasma treatment

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Leading eye hospital chooses plasma treatment

Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is the leading provider of eye health services in the UK and a world-class centre of excellence for ophthalmic research and education. With a reputation for providing the highest quality of ophthalmic care they are committed to sustaining and building on their pioneering legacy and ensuring they remain at the cutting edge of developments in ophthalmology.

Researchers at Moorfields contacted Henniker after becoming aware that many contact lens manufacturers already use plasma treatment to increase patient comfort and wettablity of rigid gas permeable contact lenses.

Henniker’s team have a wealth of experience in this area and could quickly recommend a specific configuration to suit the proposed research into surface treatment of copolymers composed of fluorine, silicone and alkyl methacrylates.

After successfully meeting the brief set by Moorfields, we are pleased to announce that Henniker have been selected as the equipment supplier and technical partner for this new avenue of research, further confirming us as one of the UK’s leading plasma technology suppliers.

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Atmospheric plasma treatment of graphene

Atmospheric pressure plasma treatment on graphene grown by chemical vapor deposition

Feature Article on Atmospheric plasma treatment of graphene - Henniker plasma treatment

An interesting article describing the control of graphene properties via atmospheric plasma surface modification. Below you can find the link to the original paper & a short abstract.

Atmospheric pressure plasma treatment on graphene grown by chemical vapor deposition

Highlights

• We construct atmospheric pressure plasma jet system for surface treatment.
• The hydrophobic graphene surface changes to hydrophilic after ammonia plasma treatment.
• Hydroxyl and carboxyl groups are pronounced after the plasma treatment.
• The pyridinic nitrogen was significantly enhanced after the plasma treatment.
• The atmospheric plasma treatment allows charge doping on graphene surface.

Abstract

We demonstrate the surface treatment of graphene using an atmospheric pressure plasma jet (APPJ) system. The graphene was synthesized by a thermal chemical vapor deposition with methane gas. A Mo foil and a SiO2 wafer covered by Ni films were employed to synthesize monolayer and mixed-layered graphene, respectively.

The home-built APPJ system was ignited using nitrogen gas to functionalize the graphene surface, and we studied the effect of different treatment times and interdistance between the plasma jet and the graphene surface. After the APPJ treatment, the hydrophobic character of graphene surface changed to hydrophilic.

We found that the change is due to the formation of functionalities such as hydroxyl and carboxyl groups. Furthermore, it is worth noting that the nitrogen plasma treatment induced charge doping on graphene, and the pyridinic nitrogen component in the X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy spectrum was significantly enhanced. We conclude that the atmospheric pressure plasma treatment enables controlling the graphene properties without introducing surface defects.

Keywords

  • Atmospheric pressure
  • Plasma
  • Graphene
  • Doping
  • Chemical vapor deposition
 Corresponding author. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

 

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Recommended review article about the use of plasmas in the textile industry

Plasma treatment in textile industry

Feature Article - 'Plasmas in the textile industry'

Recommended review article about the use of plasmas in the textile industry

Plasma Treatment in Textile Industry

Plasma Treatment in Textile Industry; Courtesy of Plasma Processes and Polymers; Andrea Zille,* Fernando Ribeiro Oliveira, Antonio Pedro Souto

 

Plasma technology applied to textiles is a dry, environmentally- and worker-friendly method to achieve surface alteration without modifying the bulk properties of different materials. In particular, atmospheric non-thermal plasmas are suited because most textile materials are heat sensitive polymers and applicable in a continuous processes. In the last years plasma technology has become a very active, high growth research field, assuming a great importance among all available material surface modifications in textile industry. The main objective of this review is to provide a critical update on the current state of art relating plasma technologies applied to textile industry.

Surface roughness measurement

1. Introduction

Nowadays, due to the increasing growth competition textile materials cannot be restricted to clothes, linen, tablecloth and curtains, but they also have to be regarded also as high-tech products that,in addition to the traditional clothing industry, find application in many technological fields, like construction, agriculture, automotive, aerospace and medicine. In this context, plasma technology has assumed a great importance among all available textile surface modifications processes. [1] It is a dry, environmentally- and worker-friendly method to achieve surface alteration without modifying the bulk properties of different materials. [2]

Plasma, the ‘fourth state of matter’, is an electrically neutral ionized gas (i.e. electron density is balanced by that of positive ions) and contains a significant number of electrically charged particles not bound to an atom or molecule. The free electric charges make plasma electrically conductive, internally interactive and strongly responsive to electromagnetic fields. [3] Although there are plenty in nature (it is estimated that plasmas are more than 99% of the visible universe), plasmas can also be effectively produced in laboratory and industry. For the surface modification of polymers, the power is usually obtained from an electric field. This is responsible for accelerating the electrons, which collide with atoms or molecules producing new charged particles, such as ions or atomic molecules, electrons and photons. [4]

This provides opportunity for many applications, in particular to produce microelectronics, medical cauterization, plasma TVs and also for the treatment or modification of polymer films and textile fibres. [5] Essentially, depending on the treatment conditions and processing requirements of the materials (sheets, membranes, fabrics, polymers) four main effects can be obtained with plasma treatments (Figure 1): (i) Cleaning effect. Mainly associated with changes in wettability and surface texture of the material may increase dye or finishing agents absorption; (ii) Increased microroughness. This can improve the adhesion of finishing agents, stamping and the behaviour of anti-felting finishing agents; (iii) Generation of free radicals. May induce secondary reactions such as crosslinking thus allowing graft polymerization and the reaction with oxygen or other gases to generate hydrophobic or hydrophilic surfaces; (iv) Plasma Polymerization. Allows the deposition of solid polymer with desired properties. [6–8]

 

 

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Interesting research into creating hydrophobic surfaces with atmospheric plasma

Plasma Deposition at Atmospheric Pressure

Feature Article - Hydrophobic Surfaces with Atmospheric Plasma

Interesting research into creating hydrophobic surfaces with atmospheric plasma

Rapid Formation of Transparent Superhydrophobic Film on Glasses by He/CH4/C4F8 Plasma Deposition at Atmospheric Pressure

A transparent superhydrophobic surface on glass is prepared by a rapid single-step method using a He/CH4/C4F8 mixture plasma at atmospheric pressure. Water droplet contact angles and surface properties are investigated to analyze both chemical and physical characteristics of the plasma treated surfaces. As the C4F8 gas flow rate is increased in the He/CH4 plasma, both advancing, and receding water contact angles are increased, while UV-visible transmittance is degraded.

By optimizing the gas mixture ratio, we find rapid deposition conditions for super-hydrophobic formation without losing the visible to near-infrared transparency of the glass. The chemical and physical mechanism responsible for hydrophobicity is also discussed through the investigation of chemical composition and surface morphology.

Images displaying surface roughness and plasma processes

1. Introduction

Surface treatment technologies to prepare hydrophobic materials have been widely developed due to their unique characteristics and various application areas. One common application is the use of a water repellant coating on windshields to improve visibility when it rains. This water repellant property is also preferred in many applications such as sunglasses, windowpanes, and outdoor wear.

Industrial use of hydrophobic materials has also increased in micro-devices, solar power, and biomedical devices. [1–4] In addition, transparent and hydrophobic surfaces have been favored in solar cell modules because transparency is important for solar power applications in addition to hydrophobicity. [5,6]

In real environments, in addition, dust particles can be accumulated on the solar cell surface, which block the sunlight and reduce power efficiency. To avoid the problem, the hydrophobic surfaces showing a self-cleaning function are desired. [5,6]

Surface treatment affects the chemical and/or physical properties that are related in a complex manner to the hydrophobicity, which is typically estimated by measuring the water droplet contact angle (WCA).

To read the full article click here

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Plasma Treatment of PTFE

Henniker announce the release of technology pages on the plasma treatment of PTFE. PTFE is a chemically inert and highly hydrophobic fluoropolymer due to the high electronegativity of fluorine. It is not readily modified by standard plasma processes but the may be altered to render the surface hydrophilic by the use of hydrogen plasma,. Read more on the processes involved here.

Download the press release

Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute install benchtop plasma cleaning unit from Henniker Plasma

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Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute install benchtop plasma cleaning unit

The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute is a charitably funded genomic research centre and leader in the Human Genome Project, focused on understanding the role of genetics in health and disease. Although only a very small part of the everyday tasks at the institute, we are nonetheless proud that our benchtop plasma cleaning unit was chosen by one of the project research teams to perform reliable and routine surface preparation and cleaning tasks.

Plasma Cleaning

Plasma cleaning is a proven, effective, economical and environmentally safe method for critical surface preparation. Plasma cleaning with oxygen plasma eliminates natural and technical oils & grease at the nano-scale and reduces contamination up to 6 fold when compared with traditional wet cleaning methods, including solvent cleaning residues themselves. Plasma cleaning produces a pristine surface, ready for bonding or further processing, without any harmful waste material.

A scientific illustration of a contaminated part prior to plasma cleaning A scientific illustration of a contaminated part during the plasma cleaning in progress A scientific illustration of a contaminated part after the plasma cleaning in progress

More information on the technology behind plasma cleaning can be found here in our dedicated technology knowledgebase

 

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The Role of Plasma in Medicine

The Role of Plasma in the Medical Industry

A very thorough review of the role of plasma in medicine over the past 20 years.

Feature Article - The role of plasma in medicine

From Killing Bacteria to Destroying Cancer Cells: 20 Years of Plasma Medicine
Mounir Laroussi

 

1. Preamble

With the advent of atmospheric pressure plasma discharges in the early 1990s various industrial and environmental applications that do not require low pressure operating conditions became possible. Among these the biomedical applications of low temperature plasmas took center stage. First, investigations of the efficacy of plasma to inactivate bacteria were conducted in the mid-1990s [1–6] (and references therein). The dielectric barrier discharge (DBD) was the plasma source used during the early studies. Later on, as plasma jets were developed, these were also used with equal success. The inactivation of bacteria on biotic and abiotic surfaces is useful for applications such as sterilization/decontamination [3,4] and wound healing. [5,7]

By the early 2000s, investigations on mammalian cells which showed that under some conditions plasma can affect these types of cells without causing damage were conducted. [8,9] Some of the effects include cell detachment and apoptosis . The period between 2006 and 2013 witnessed two major quantum leaps in medical applications of low temperature plasma (LTP): (i) clinical trials on wound healing were conducted by Isbary et al.; [7] (ii) LTP was shown to be able to cause damage or even destroy cancer cells in vitro and, later, in vivo, by several investigators. First, Yonson et al. in 2006 tested a human hepatocellular carcinoma (HepG2), [10] then other adherent and non-adherent cells lines such as melanoma, glioblastoma, and leukemia cells were used by other investigators. [11–23] These crucial advances breathed great confidence and helped cement the idea that LTP could indeed one day revolutionize health care on several fronts.

In this essay, looking back at the last 20 years of efforts, the author’s thoughts on the progress of plasma medicine, and especially on the use of LTP to kill cancer cells, are expressed. These thoughts and opinions include personal reflections and assessment of the field and its prospects for the next decade, especially in regards to the use of LTP in cancer therapy.

2. Historical Perspective: Thoughts and Impressions

It has been about 20 years since the biological and medical applications of low temperature atmospheric pressure plasmas, a field today known as ‘‘Plasma Medicine,’’ had its first humble steps. This author’s group was fortunate enough to take part and contribute to this exciting multidisciplinary field during its two-decade-long ‘‘formative’’ period. Our early work, mid- to late-1990s, focused on investigating the bacterial inactivation efficacy of LTP while in the last few years, 2010 to the present, we have been focusing more on cancer studies.

In between these years, various other topics were entertained and experiments were conducted in our laboratory ranging from wound healing, to destruction of pathogenic proteins that cause neurodegenerative diseases, to dental applications. Each one of these lines of research presented its own set of challenges but also offered many rewarding experiences, the collaboration with biologists, biochemists, and dentists being one of these.

During these two decades this author witnessed the incredible scientific progress that the field of plasma medicine had undergone as many groups around the world entered the field and achieved new research milestones. Most rewarding is seeing many colleagues who were somewhat skeptical early on (understandably hesitant) become some of the most ardent supporters of the field and many of them become some of the most productive.

But regardless of when one enters a research discipline what is important is to positively contribute to the scientific knowledge that is necessary to carry the field forward and many of these colleagues did just that.

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If you’d like to discuss your requirements regarding a plasma treatment solution for your process or product don’t hestiate to contact us. Or visit our industry section for more information of the role of plasma within the medical industry.

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Recent research into the interfacial properties of composite materials

Plasma Treatment of Composite Materials

Feature Article - Plasma treated composite carbon fibre

A fantastic article on the recent research into the interfacial properties of composite materials produced from reclaimed and plasma treated carbon fibre.

Read an excerpt from the article below:

Plasma treated composite carbon fibre

Effect of plasma surface treatment of recycled carbon fiber on carbon fiber-reinforced plastics (CFRP) interfacial properties

Highlights
  • Plasma treatment was used to improve the adhesion property between the recycled CF and polymer matrix.
  • In order to evaluate the adhesion between plasma treated recycled CF and polymer, micro droplet test was conducted.
  • The interfacial shear strength and the interfacial adhesion of recycled carbon fiber increased.
Abstract

We studied the effects of plasma surface treatment of recycled carbon fiber on adhesion of the fiber to polymers after various treatment times. Conventional surface treatment methods have been attempted for recycled carbon fiber, but most require very long processing times, which may increase cost. Hence, in this study, plasma processing was performed for 0.5 s or less. Surface functionalization was quantified by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. O/C increased from approximately 11% to 25%. The micro-droplet test of adhesion properties and the mechanical properties of CFRP were also investigated.

Keywords
  • Recycled carbon fiber
  • pasma surface treatment
  • CFRP
  • Interfacial properties
Corresponding author. Tel.: +81 8088229631. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Hooseok Lee, , Isamu Ohsawa, Jun Takahashi, Department of Systems Innovation, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-Ku, Tokyo, Japan, Received 10 July 2014, Revised 30 November 2014, Accepted 1 December 2014, Available online 9 December 2014

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