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News | Matter ＆ the Universe | Bacteria
How can we prevent bacteria from settling and proliferating on the inside surfaces of the International Space Station (ISS)? Since 2016, CEA-Leti has been collaborating with Laurence Lemelle and Christophe Place (ENS Lyon) to solve this challenge as part of the Matiss project, which is funded by CNES. In particular, the project aims to develop smart, bio-inspired coatings without toxic metals or nanoparticles.
The first series of tests for Matiss were led by Thomas Pesquet and carried out between Nov. 2016 and May 2017. The experiment placed several racks in the ISS in order to hold 22mm-large glass slates that were covered with a hydrophobic coating.
“This project has an unusual work process,” underlines Guillaume Nonglaton, head of the Matiss project at CEA-Leti. “We have to develop each new generation without having feedback on the previous generation as our colleagues at ENS require months of surface exposure to study the biocontamination of the glass slates.”
“We are particularly focused on highly hydrophilic surfaces based on peptides with an antibacterial function,” explains Guillaume Nonglaton. “These surfaces are never really dry, which is unattractive for bacteria. And if bacteria still end up settling on the surface, they’re eliminated.” The results of this new trial coating should be known in 2025.
CEA is a French government-funded technological research organisation in four main areas: low-carbon energies, defense and security, information technologies and health technologies. A prominent player in the European Research Area, it is involved in setting up collaborative projects with many partners around the world.