Effect of Flexibility and Size of Nanofabricated Topographies on the Mechanobactericidal Efficacy of Polymeric Surfaces
- Journal Article
Driven by the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance, the design of intrinsically bactericidal surfaces has been gaining significant attention. Proposed surface topography designs are often inspired by naturally occurring nanopatterns on insect wings that mechanically damage bacteria via membrane deformation. The stability of and the absence of chemicals in such surfaces support their facile and sustainable employment in avoiding surface-born pathogen transmission. Recently, the deflection of controllably nanofabricated pillar arrays has been shown to strongly affect bactericidal activity, with the limits of mechanical effectiveness of such structures remaining largely unexplored. Here, we examine the limits of softer, commonly used polymeric materials and investigate the interplay between pillar nanostructure sizing and flexibility for effective antibacterial functionality. A facile, scalable, UV nanoimprint lithography method was used to fabricate nanopillar array topographies of variable sizes and flexibilities. It was found that bacterial death on nanopillars in the range of diameters ≤100 nm and Young's moduli ≥1.3 GPa is increased by 3.5- to 5.6-fold, while thicker or softer pillars did not reduce bacterial viability. To further support our findings, we performed a finite element analysis of pillar deformation. It revealed that differences in the amount of stress exerted on bacterial membranes, generated from the stored elastic energy in flexible pillars, contribute to the observed bactericidal performance. Show more
Journal / seriesACS Applied Bio Materials
Pages / Article No.
Subjectbactericidal surfaces; polymers; soft surfaces; Nanoimprint lithography; bactericidal mechanism; elastic energy; Young’s modulus
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