Stifterverband Science Prize 2013

Stifterverband Science Prize

The award for Human-Centered Technology is funded by former Executive Board members and institute directors of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and outside sponsors associated with them. This prize is awarded every two years – alternating with the Donors’ Association Prize – to those employees whose research and development work makes a significant contribution to improving people’s quality of life and maintaining their active participation in daily life into old age.

The winners 2013

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© Dirk Mahler/Fraunhofer
The prize-winning team presents a bag whose inner surface is modified using plasma – Henk Garritsen, Werner Lindenmaier, Michael Thomas, Kristina Lachmann, Kurt Dittmar (from left to right).

Plasma in a bag

Plastic bags coated by plasma at atmospheric pressure serve as a GMP laboratory for the cultivation of adherent cells. The plasma is used to modify the internal surface of the bag specifically, so that different cell types can grow on it.

It sounds like one of those puzzles where you have to change a matchstick figure into something else without adding or taking away any matches: How do you alter the inside of a closed bag without opening it? Impossible, I hear you say. But that is precisely what a team of researchers under Dr. Kristina Lachmann and Dr. Michael Thomas at the Fraunhofer Institute for Surface Engineering and Thin Films IST in Braunschweig have managed to do. They use plasma to activate the inner surfaces of plastic bags. The plasma acts as a disinfectant while also transforming the surface of the bag so that cells want and are able to grow on it.