Low-Voltage Bacterial and Viral Killing Using Laser-Induced Graphene-Coated Non-woven Air Filters


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Laser-induced graphene (LIG) is uniquely positioned to advance applications in which electrically conductive carbon coatings are required. Recently, the antifouling, antiviral, and antibacterial properties of LIG have been proven in both air and water filtration applications. For example, an unsupported LIG based filter (pore size: similar to 0.3 mu m) demonstrated exceptional air filtration properties, while its joule heating effects successfully sterilized and removed unwanted biological components in air despite persisting challenges such as pressure drop, energy consumption, and lack of mechanical robustness. Here, we developed a polyimide (PI) non-woven supported LIG air filter with negligible pressure drop changes compared to the non-woven support material and showed that low electrical current density inactivates aerosolized bacteria. A current density of 4.5 mA/cm(2) did not cause significant joule heating, and 97.2% bacterial removal was obtained. The low-voltage antibacterial mechanism was elucidated using bacterial inhibition experiments on a titanium surface and on an LIG surface fabricated on dense PI films. Complete sterilization was obtained using current densities of similar to 8 mA/cm(2) applied for 2 min or similar to 6 mA/cm(2) for 10 min upon the dense PI-LIG surface. Lastly, >98% bacterial removal was observed using a low-resistance LIG-coated non-woven polyimide air filter at 5 V. However, only very low voltages (similar to 0.3 V) were needed to remove similar to 99% Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria and 100% of T4 virus when the LIG-coated filters were hybridized with a stainless steel mesh. Our results show that low current density levels at very low voltages are sufficient for substantial bacterial and viral inactivation, and that these principles might be effectively used in a wide number of air filtration applications such as air conditioners or other ventilation systems, which might limit the spread of infectious particles in hospitals, homes, workplaces, and the transportation industry.
conductive laser-induced graphene, non-woven filters, polyimide, P84, air-filtration, antibacterial, antiviral
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