Self-Sterilizing Sputtered Films for Applications in Hospital Facilities

This review addresses the preparation of antibacterial 2D textile and thin polymer films and 3D surfaces like catheters for applications in hospital and health care facilities. The sputtering of films applying different levels of energy led to the deposition of metal/oxide/composite/films showing differentiated antibacterial kinetics and surface microstructure. The optimization of the film composition in regards to the antibacterial active component was carried out in each case to attain the fastest antibacterial kinetics, since this is essential when designing films avoiding biofilm formation (under light and in the dark). The antimicrobial performance of these sputtered films on Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Escherichia coli (E. coli) were tested. A protecting effect of TiO2 was found for the release of Cu by the TiO2-Cu films compared to films sputtered by Cu only. The Cu-released during bacterial inactivation by TiO2-Cu was observed to be much lower compared to the films sputtered only by Cu. The FeOx-TiO2-PE films induced E. coli inactivation under solar or under visible light with a similar inactivation kinetics, confirming the predominant role of FeOx in these composite films. By up-to-date surface science techniques were used to characterize the surface properties of the sputtered films. A mechanism of bacteria inactivation is suggested for each particular film consistent with the experimental results found and compared with the literature.


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