Electron beam irradiation is a well-accepted method for sterilization of medical products. Usually the process is performed with high electron energies up to 10 MeV in specialized service facilities. Because of high energy, these facilities need a high shielding which is associated with very high costs. One aim of Fraunhofer FEP is to develop small in- line capable systems based on low-energy electron irradiation (LEEI) with energies in the range of 0.2 to 0.3 MeV. The drawback is that the penetration depth of low energy electrons is very small (up to 300 μm). For some applications, this is sufficient, but so far not applicable to liquids.
During the last several years, we developed together with other Fraunhofer Institutes and partners different technologies with which we are now able to produce thin liquid films for LEEI treatment. So the beneficial effects of electron irradiation over other treatment technologies can be used in small and compact facilities. It is well known that electron irradiation leads to much shorter treatment times compared to gamma and x-ray irradiation because of very high dose rates. This could be beneficial, for example, for the inactivation of liquid pathogen solutions for the production of very effective vaccines. The technology and first results will be presented.
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