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Patent Number: 7192553
Title: In situ sterilization and decontamination system using a non-thermal plasma discharge
Inventors: Crowe; Richard, Korfiatis; George, Babko-Malyi; Sergei
Abstract: A sterilization and decontamination system in which a non-thermal plasma discharge device is disposed upstream of a suspension media (e.g., a filter, electrostatic precipitator, carbon bed). The plasma discharge device generates a plasma that is emitted through apertures (e.g., capillaries or slits) in the primary dielectric. Plasma generated active sterilizing species when exposed to contaminants or undesirable particulate matter is able to deactivate or reduce such matter in contaminated fluid stream and/or on objects. Thus, the undesirable contaminants in the fluid to be treated are first reduced during their exposure to the plasma generated active sterilizing species in the plasma region of the discharge device. Furthermore, the plasma generated active sterilizing species are carried downstream to suspension media and upon contact therewith deactivate the contaminants collected on the suspension media itself. Advantageously, the suspension media may be cleansed in situ. To increase the sterilization efficiency an additive, free or carrier gas (e.g., alcohol, water, dry air) may be injected into the apertures defined in the primary dielectric. These additives increase the concentration of plasma generated active sterilizing agents while reducing the byproduct of generated undesirable ozone pollutants. Downstream of the filter the fluid stream may be further treated by being exposed to a catalyst media or additional suspension media to further reduce the amount of undesirable particulate matter.
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