The influence of nanoscopically thin silver films on bacterial viability and attachment
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The physicochemical and bactericidal properties of thin silver films have been analysed. Silver films of 3 and 150 nm thicknesses were fabricated using a magnetron sputtering thin-film deposition system. X-ray photoelectron and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy and atomic force microscopy analyses confirmed that the resulting surfaces were homogeneous, and that silver was the most abundant element present on both surfaces, being 45 and 53 at.% on the 3- and 150-nm films, respectively. Inductively coupled plasma time of flight mass spectroscopy (ICP-TOF-MS) was used to measure the concentration of silver ions released from these films. Concentrations of 0.9 and 5.2 ppb were detected for the 3- and 150-nm films, respectively. The surface wettability of the films remained nearly identical for both film thicknesses, displaying a static water contact angle of 95°, while the surface free energy of the 150-nm film was found to be slightly greater than that of the 3-nm film, being 28.8 and 23.9 mN m−1, respectively. The two silver film thicknesses exhibited statistically significant differences in surface topographic profiles on the nanoscopic scale, with R a, R q and R max values of 1.4, 1.8 and 15.4 nm for the 3-nm film and 0.8, 1.2 and 10.7 nm for the 150-nm film over a 5 × 5 μm scanning area. Confocal scanning laser microscopy and scanning electron microscopy revealed that the bactericidal activity of the 3-nm silver film was not significant, whereas the nanoscopically smoother 150-nm silver film exhibited appreciable bactericidal activity towards Pseudomonas aeruginosa ATCC 9027 cells and Staphylococcus aureus CIP 65.8 cells, obtaining up to 75% and 27% sterilisation effect, respectively.
KeywordsNanoscopically thin silver coating Film Bactericidal activity S. aureus P. aeruginosa
This study was supported in part by the Advanced Manufacturing Co-operative Research Centre.
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