Visible light to activate antiviral properties of titanium dioxide nanoparticles

Focus on new developments for frequent-touch surfaces in hospitals: A new review describes the use of visible light to activate antiviral and antimicrobial properties of titanium dioxide nanoparticles in paints and coatings.

A door handle with stylised bacteria
The ideal material or coating should be activated under artificial light conditions to impact indoor areas Image source: denisismagilov - (symbol image).

The COVID-19 pandemic refocused scientists the world over to produce technologies that will be able to prevent the spread of such diseases in the future. One area that deservedly receives much attention is the disinfection of health facilities like hospitals, public areas like bathrooms and train stations, and cleaning areas in the food industry. Microorganisms and viruses can attach to and survive on surfaces for a long time in most cases, increasing the risk for infection. One of the most attractive disinfection methods is paints and coatings containing nanoparticles that act as photocatalysts. Of these, titanium dioxide is appealing due to its low cost and photoreactivity.

Recent advancements and research

However, on its own, it can only be activated under high-energy UV light due to the high band gap and fast recombination of photogenerated species. The ideal material or coating should be activated under artificial light conditions to impact indoor areas, especially considering wall paints or frequent-touch areas like door handles and elevator buttons. By introducing dopants to TiO2 NPs, the bandgap can be lowered to a state of visible-light photocatalysis occurring. Many researchers are exploring this property now. A new review article highlights the most recent advancements and research on visible-light activation of TiO2-doped NPs in coatings and paints.

The review has been published in Journal of Coatings Technology and Research , Volume 20, Issue 3, May 2023.

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