Can ultrafast lasers help in killing microbes?
During the challenging times of Covid-19 pandemic people ask whether femtosecond lasers can be used to help combat the virus? Although we are not microbes specialists, there are certain studies showing how femtosecond lasers could possibly contribute in this fight.
First, a study by Fadeeva et al. (2011)
shows that a superhydrophobic microstructures on titanium surface can create antifouling properties, preventing certain bacteria strains to attach to the surface. Those superhydrophobic structures can be made with femtosecond lasers like we showed in our video:
Similar results were obtained in study by Shaikh et al. (2019)
for titanium and titanium alloys.
Different approach is taken by Cai et. al (2019)
who joins the use of ultrafast-laser generated microstructures with silver particles deposition to create antimicrobial surfaces.
Finally, it is know for copper to have antimicrobial property. Research by Zeiger et al. (2014)
shows that surface structuring can further enhance this property.
Above studies show that although femtosecond lasers would not be used directly in killing the viruses, they can be used to create virus-unfriendly microstructures. Those special surfaces can be found very useful in manufacturing special knobs, handles, utensils, which would at least limit transfer of the disease.