Potential Biomedical Applications for Germicidal Optical Fibers

K. Westerhoff
H2Optic Insights, Arizona, United States

Poster stand number: T127

Keywords: germicidal optical fiber, biofilm control, biomedical applications

Biofilm control is an urgent cross-discipline problem. Biofilms grow on nearly all wetted or moist surfaces and can wreak havoc in potable water systems, industrial equipment, and medical equipment/devices. Biofilms can harbor and protect deadly bacteria making them up to 1000x more resistant to antibiotic or chemical treatment. Biofilms are the root cause of more than 60% of infections resulting in an estimated $94B for medical infections alone. In 2013, the U.S. government and industry spent more than $500B fighting biofilm-related corrosion. Our technology funded by NASA (Phase I and II STTR with Arizona State University) is the first germicidal UV-C light technology that uses optical fibers to prevent biofilm formation. Our flexible, thin engineered optical fibers deliver germicidal UV-C light where other technologies cannot reach to prevent biofilm growth while preserving health and improving operational performance. We have demonstrated that low doses of UV-C delivered using our specialty engineered optical fibers prevent biofilm growth in nutrient-rich environments in both air and water. Working with our strategic manufacturing partners we demonstrated full-scale manufacturability producing over 1 km of UV-C side-emitting optical fiber in a full-scale drop tower and a custom optimized UV-C fiber-connected LED module.