Laser pulses, nanoparticles aid in wound dressing development

A team of researchers at the University of Duisburg-Essen (UDE) in Germany has developed a wound dressing for second- and third-degree burns that promotes wound healing and doesn't need to be changed frequently. They recognized a challenge in developing an appropriate substrate for dressings that will release their active ingredients, which must be harmful to bacteria but harmless to the human body, gradually.

Related: TIRF and confocal microscopy illustrate wound healing dynamics

Led by UDE technical chemist Nina Million as part of her master thesis project, the researchers removed zinc oxide and iron oxide nanoparticles (which are known to accelerate wound healing) from solid targets by laser pulses and applied them in a sponge-like carrier material, which creates a microgel that is arranged like a network to enclose the particles. Applied to a wound, it gradually releases antibacterial ions while the particles themselves remain inside the microgel. Recent studies adjusting the dose and thus optimizing the composition were successfully completed on rats.

A collaboration with the DWI – Leibniz Institute for Interactive Materials in Aachen and Hannover Medical School helped to make the development possible. The work also garnered Million a prize for the best thesis in 2013 by the German Society for Biomaterials.

For more information, please see a video that describes the development at


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