Cold Sterilization of Plastic Containers

Web Published:

The sterilization of plastic containers for beverage, food and pharmaceutical products is a significant cost to the associated industries. Currently, plastic containers are sterilized using heat, which necessitates the use of polymers that can withstand the high temperature without degrading or deforming. These heat resistant polymers have a cost of up to 1.7 times that of comparable lower temperature products. As such, any improvements in the sterilization process will have a large econ omic impact.

Researchers at Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory have developed a new process for sterilization of plastic containers does not employ heat, gamma radiation or chemical agents. The method uses a cold plasma discharge under partial vacuum conditions. This new method lends itself to high speeds and volumes as sterilization takes place in seconds. The process uses non-exotic equipment. A functional prototype of the equipment exists. Patent protection is pending.

The U.S. Department of Energy's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory is a Collaborative National Center for plasma and fusion science. Its primary mission is to develop the scientific understanding and the key innovations which will lead to an attractive fusion energy source. Associated missions include conducting world-class research along the broad frontier of plasma science and providing the highest quality of scientific education. For additional information about Princeton Plasma Physic s Laboratory, please visit the home page at

For more information please contact:

             William H. Gowen
             Office of Patents and Licensing
             Princeton University
             5 New South Building
             Princeton, NJ 08544-0036
             (609) 258-6762
             (609) 258-1159 fax

Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
William Gowen
Former: Sr. Licensing Assoc.
Princeton University
John Schmidt