Scientists Develop Smart Dressings For Wound With Built-in Nano-sensors

According to foreign media New Atlas, doctors usually need to remove the bandage to see if the wound is infected, but this process can delay the healing of the wound. Australian scientists may have a solution to this contradiction, that is, if the wound is infected, the dressing will glow.

Currently, scientists at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) are developing this material, embedding nanosheets of magnesium hydroxide into the nanofibers of standard cotton bandages. Once applied to wounds--especially chronic wounds such as diabetic ulcers--biocompatible magnesium hydroxide helps healing by killing harmful bacteria and reducing inflammation.

If the infection still occurs, the wound site will change from slightly acidic--like healthy skin--to somewhat alkaline. This change in pH will cause magnesium hydroxide to fluoresce brightly when exposed to ultraviolet light.

Therefore, the doctor only needs to irradiate the patient's bandage with ultraviolet rays to check for infection without having to remove the bandage. Similarly, if a wound is known to be infected, if it no longer causes the fluorescence of magnesium hydroxide, ultraviolet light can indicate that the infection has cleared.

According to chief scientist Dr. Vi Khanh Truong, the manufacturing process can be easily scaled up for commercial production, and the cost of this bandage may be 1/20 of other antibacterial dressings containing more expensive silver nanoparticles. In addition, he pointed out that although the existing antibacterial wound dressings began to lose their effectiveness in killing bacteria after a few days, laboratory tests showed that the magnesium hydroxide bandage was still effective within seven days.

This research was described in a paper recently published in the ACS Journal of Applied Materials and Interface.