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NC State News

Dr. Stephen Michielsen

Dr. Stephen Michielsen works with fabric in his College of Textiles lab.

Thanks to research by Dr. Stephen Michielsen, when the lights go up on health care workers, viruses and bacteria may go down.

Michielsen has developed an anti-microbial nanocoating that, when activated by exposure to light, kills up to 99 percent of viruses and some bacteria. The coating is now being marketed for clinical clothes worn by health care workers.

The coating emerged from work Michielsen did as a DuPont employee in the 1990s. He was seeking more environmentally friendly lubricants for carpets spinning through DuPont machinery. Once washed off the finished carpet, the lubricant made its way into the water system.

Michielsen developed a nanocoating so thin that it did not post-production washing. DuPont never made use of it, but it later led to the photoreactive, anti-microbial coating Michielsen created in his current position, as associate professor of textile engineering chemistry and science.

Michielsen’s research led to the formation of LaamScience, a company which now markets the coating on masks and clothing for health care workers.

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