Atmospheric cold plasma

cold plasma icon
Plasma is created by exciting a gas through the introduction of energy, for example using high voltage.

Various technical principles can be used to generate atmospheric cold plasma. The ActivCellpen uses dielectric materials, i.e. materials that are weakly or not at all conductive, which allow discharge pulses to be transferred to a conductive surface such as human skin.

The resulting cold plasma comprises numerous physical and chemical components. The combination of these components is ultimately responsible for the medicinal effect.

Due to the low electrical currents, the technology is well tolerated by patients when used as intended.

Method of action of cold plasma

Antimicrobial effect

The reactive species of cold atmospheric plasma have an antimicrobial effect. Due to their non-specific oxidative mechanism of action, a development of resistance is impossible. Cold plasma is therefore also effective against multi-resistant microorganisms such as Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

The use of cold plasma technology in medicine

Cold plasma has a temperature below 40°C and it is well tolerated by tissue. This type of therapy is therefore ideal for the treatment of body surfaces. The oxidative properties of the reactive species contained in cold plasma come to play in this therapy. The use of cold plasma in human medicine is an established practice, and numerous studies have demonstrated its efficacy. Its antimicrobial effect and resulting improvement of the wound environment are used to increase the efficiency of wound treatment. The rapid effect and high tolerability of this treatment contribute to its widespread acceptance.

Further Reading

The scientific literature discusses additional mechanisms of cold plasma action on wounds in which reactive secondary components of the plasma trigger physiological pathways to support wound healing, e.g.

  • Metelmann et al. (2016) Plasmamedizin. Springer Verlag.
  • Schmidt, A. and S. Bekeschus (2018). ‘Redox for Repair: Cold Physical Plasmas and Nrf2 Signaling Promoting Wound Healing.’ Antioxidants (Basel) 7(10).
  • Bekeschus, S., T. von Woedtke, S. Emmert and A. Schmidt (2021). ‘Medical gas plasma-stimulated wound healing: Evidence and mechanisms.’ Redox Biol 46: 102116.