The team from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich have discovered that coating the film with a mix of silver and calcium phosphate nano-particles proves deadly to bacteria.
Wendelin Stark, a chemical engineer and leader of the project explained that it had been previously impossible to apply silver in a targeted and measured way. However, by using a film and applying the silver to the calcium phosphate, he believes the problem has been overcome: “Within 24 hours of the plastic film being applied to a surface, less than 1 bacterium out of 1 million bacteria will survive.”
Because bacteria rely on calcium for their metabolism, the 20-50 nanometer calcium phosphate particles are used by the micro-organisms as nutrition. When the bacteria consume the calcium phosphate, this releases thousands of small silver 1-2 nanometer particles. It’s these tiny silver particles that kill the bacteria and prevent germs from growing and spreading.
The polymer film only emits silver if bacteria are growing in the vicinity. This can be assessed by the quantity of calcium phosphate that is taken up by the bacterium. “It saves money and is much more efficient,” said Stark.
“It also reduces the environmental impact of the process and we have developed a method that is easy to apply and could bring great benefits to patients in hospitals, as well as the food industry.”
Silver has been used as an antiseptic and disinfectant for thousands of years. Wealthy households would commonly use silver tableware in the belief it could fend off germs, whilst poorer people would put silver coins into their milk jug.
Silver was also used in medical treatments before being replaced by antibiotics but nanotechnology has allowed the metal something of a medical renaissance. The project is now being up scaled by a Swiss Company.
The work has been praised by Dr David Brown, Chief Executive of the Institution of Chemical Engineers: “This is an outstanding example of how chemical engineers are making a crucial contribution to society”.
Details of the work have been published in the science journal, Small with a second paper due for publication in Nature Nanotechnology next month.
Matt Stalker | alfa
The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling
07.12.2016 | National Centre for Biological Sciences
Transforming plant cells from generalists to specialists
07.12.2016 | Duke University
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine
07.12.2016 | Life Sciences
07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine