In a recently published article a US-Brazil research cooporation showed that irradiating random arrays of nanoporous gold disks with near-infrared light leads to full inactivation of pathogenic bacteria strains within a minute. 

Multi-resistant bacteria are becoming more and more a threat to the health of patients in hospitals. The search for possibilities to stop this threat has become a vivid field of research including classical antibiotics research but also more and more incorporating new ways such as using nanotechnology.

The method works through heating up the gold array by near-infrared light. The temperature through the collective excitation of the array reaches rapidly a temperature exceeding 200 °C thus damaging the bacteria’s cell walls beyond repair.

Their work published in Optical Meterials Express (doi: 10.1364/OME.6.001217) paves the way to new coatings for textiles that can be used in healthcare for disinfection.