Led by Virginia Davis, assistant professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering, and Aleksandr Simonian, professor of materials engineering in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, the Auburn researchers mixed solutions of lysozyme, a natural product with antimicrobial properties found in egg whites and human tears, with single-walled carbon nanotubes, or SWNTs, which are strong, microscopic pieces of carbon. SWNTs, at one nanometer in diameter, are a perfect cylinder of carbon and keep the lysozyme intact in the coating.
“Lysozyme is used in some commercial products such as Biotene mouthwash,” said Davis. “However, lysozyme itself is not as tough. Single-walled carbon nanotubes, on the other hand, are among the strongest materials known to man. While they are 100 times as strong as steel, they have only one-sixth the weight.”
By using a process called layer-by-layer deposition, the team demonstrated the inability of intact Staphylococcus aureus cells to grow on antimicrobial surfaces.
“Disinfection generally requires rigorous cleaning with solvent that must remain wet for a given period of time to ensure that surface germs are killed,” said Davis. “In contrast, we have created a surface that is inherently antimicrobial, so how long it is wet is not an issue.”
Davis’ research paper, “Strong Antimicrobial Coatings: Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes Armored with Biopolymers,” was recently featured in NanoLetters, a premier journal in the field, frequently cited by top researchers.
“The material presented in NanoLetters is only the beginning,” said Davis. “We plan to adapt processing to enable the assembly of coatings on a much larger scale. As a foundation for future applications, the combination of single-walled carbon nanotubes with DNA, proteins and enzymes enables a range of possibilities for sensing and smart-functionality capabilities.”
Davis’ research and teaching expertise is related to SWNTs, their dispersion and shear alignment, which involves nanotube exploitation of specific properties and alignment across large spaces. She is a former student of Matteo Pasquali, associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at Rice University, and Nobel Prize winner Richard E. Smalley. Simonian is a recognized expert in smart bio-functionalized materials and bio-sensing. He founded the biosensors laboratory at Yerevan Physics Institute in Armenia and serves as a member of the Auburn University Detection and Food Safety Center.
Graduate student Shankar Balasubramanian, whose expertise is in biosensors and antimicrobial materials, and postdoctoral fellow Dhriti Nepal, whose background is in SWNT-biopolymer dispersion, contributed to the project.
Davis’ paper can be read online at http://pubs.acs.org/cgi-bin/abstract.cgi/nalefd/asap/abs/nl080522t.html .
The release and photos can be viewed on the Auburn University Web site at http://wireeagle.auburn.edu/news/388 .
Auburn University | Newswise Science News
Closing the carbon loop
08.12.2016 | University of Pittsburgh
Newly discovered bacteria-binding protein in the intestine
08.12.2016 | University of Gothenburg
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
08.12.2016 | Life Sciences
08.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
08.12.2016 | Materials Sciences