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Monday, 16 September 2019
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Raw materials & technologies

Highly-adhesive films kill microorganisms

Friday, 23 August 2013

A new method creates stable, uniform and highly-adhesive antimicrobial films with fast antibacterial action. This phenomenon is not only useful for hospitals.

The antimicrobial films protect surfaces against corrosion

Source: Klaus-Uwe Gerhardt

The antimicrobial films protect surfaces against corrosion

Source: Klaus-Uwe Gerhardt

One of the biggest problems for hospitals is maintaining a sterile environment and protecting its patients from acquiring what are known as nosocomial infections. A way to minimise or prevent this risk altogether is to cover surfaces with antimicrobial films that either kill or stop the growth of microorganisms like bacteria, fungi or viruses.

Stable, uniform and highly-adhesive antimicrobial films developed

The problem is that many of these antimicrobial films are often not stable, their preparation methods are hard to industrialise, they are not uniform throughout, and can be wiped off a surface by simply passing over a cloth or a finger. Publishing in Surface & Coatings Technology, EPFL scientists have developed a way to create stable, uniform and highly-adhesive antimicrobial films with fast antibacterial action, using a new method called Highly Ionized Pulsed Plasma Magnetron Sputtering (HiPIMS).

Deposition of antibacterial titanium oxide and copper films on 3-D polyester

The team of César Pulgarin at EPFL used the HiPIMS to deposit antibacterial titanium oxide and copper (TiO2/Cu) films on 3-D polyester surfaces for the first time. Both TiO2 and Cu form a close and homogenous junction on their surfaces. This leads to the production of free radicals, chemicals that are powerful natural bactericides.

HiPIMS-coated surfaces are resistant to corrosion

The advantage of the new method is that different metal combinations can be explored in a systematic and controlled way, and also that it can deposit ultrathin films with a denser and tougher coating morphology than other traditional methods like sol-gel. This means that the HiPIMS-coated surfaces can be more resistant to corrosion and environmental degradation, making them ideal for use on a range of everyday surfaces.

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