Starting with PET, IBM researchers have created a super plastic that attacks and destroys methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
"The mechanism through which [these polymers] fight bacteria is very different from the way an antibiotic works," says James L. Hedrick a researcher in advanced organic materials for IBM in San Jose, CA. "They try to mimic what the immune system does: the polymer attaches to the bacteria's membrane and then facilitates destabilization of the membrane."
The breakthrough started with efforts by IBM to leverage technology it had developed to miniaturize semiconductors. Specifically, polymers have been developed that permit microscopic etching on a wafer at a much smaller scale.