Device spells doom for superbugs

By Jason Palmer - Science and technology reporter, BBC News - Researchers have demonstrated a prototype device that can rid hands, feet, or even underarms of bacteria, including the hospital superbug MRSA.

The device works by creating something called a plasma, which produces a cocktail of chemicals in air that kill bacteria but are harmless to skin.

A related approach could see the use of plasmas to speed the healing of wounds.

Writing in the New Journal of Physics, the authors say plasmas could help solve gum disease or even body odour.

Plasmas are known as the fourth state of matter, after solid, liquid, and gas. They are a soup of atoms that have had their electrons stripped off by, for example, a high voltage.

Plasmas are common elsewhere in the cosmos, where high-energy processes produce them, and they are even posited as a potential source of fusion energy. Their properties have recently been harvested for use in plasma televisions.

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