Development of synthetic bactericidal surfaces is a drug-free route to the prevention of implant-associated infections. Surface nanotopographies with specific dimensions have been shown to kill various types of bacterial strains through a mechanical mechanism, while regulating stem cell differentiation and tissue regeneration. The effective ranges of dimensions required to simultaneously achieve both aims are in the <200 nm range. Here, a nanoscale additive manufacturing (=3D printing) technique called electron beam induced deposition (EBID) is used to fabricate nanopillars with reproducible and precisely controlled dimensions and arrangements that are within those effective ranges (i.e. a height of 190 nm, a diameter of 80 nm, and an interspacing of 170 nm). When compared to the flat surface, the nanopatterned surfaces show a significant bactericidal activity against both Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus (with respective killing efficiencies of 97 ± 1% and 36 ± 5%). Direct penetration of nanopatterns into the bacterial cell wall leads to the disruption of the cell wall and cell death. The more rigid cell wall of S. aureus is consistent with the decreased killing efficiency. These findings support the development of nanopatterns with precisely controlled dimensions that are capable of killing both Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria.
- antibacterial effects
- nanoscale additive manufacturing
- surface nanopatterns