Prickly silicon could act as antimicrobial coating on medical devices
E. Ivanova et al./Nature Comm. 2013
Tiny spikes on a silicon surface can stab and kill any bacteria that make contact, researchers report November 26 in Nature Communications. Scientists could foil infectious bacteria by using the new surface architecture as a coating on medical devices and food-processing equipment.
Microbiologist Elena Ivanova of Swinburne University of Technology in Hawthorn, Australia, and colleagues designed the nanoarchitecture by taking cues from bacteria-free surfaces in nature such as insect wings. Using scanning electron microscopy, the team discovered that dragonfly wings have protrusions, just 240 nanometers tall, which appeared to pop bacterial cells that tried to attach to the wing.
By etching light-absorbing black silicon, Ivanova and her team created similar spikes, 500 nanometers tall and just 20 to 80 nanometers thick. When the researchers exposed bacteria or bacterial spores to the silicon surface, they found