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Silver nanocluster doped thin films for antibacterial coatings

Silvac aims at the development of silver nanocluster doped thin films obtained by standard coating techniques (pvd, cvd, sputtering, printing) on several substrates to improve their antibacterial activity. The first applications are on interiors surfaces such as internal doors, steering wheel, gear

The main idea of SILVAC is that silver nanocluster doped thin films can provide antibacterial functionality to every surface. The final outcomes will be: – a conformable plastic-based film to be applied in interiors vehicle parts (dashboard, gear stick, steering wheel) – a fabric impregnated by inorganic doped films to be integrated in car-seat. Such idea have been still experimentally verified: silver nanocluster doped silica thin films obtained by co-sputtering on a glass substrate proved their antibacterial activity towards Staphylococcus Aureus. Silver ions leaching have been observed for many days by dipping sample in different solution demonstrating the persistent Ag ions release and so the antibacterial activity of these coatings. Nevertheless the application on suitable surfaces remains really challenging due to the difficulties in the control of the nanoclusters shape and dimension and in the development of the deposition processes. SILVAC aims to these two objectives, proposing exclusive applications for automotive market. The antibacterial properties will be tailored by operating on sputtering/chemical synthesis parameters with respect to the silver ions versus metal nanocluster concentration. These results open a wide range of opportunities and applications for silver nanocluster doped thin films as antibacterial coatings for almost all surfaces, flat or irregular: polymers, metals, glasses, ceramics can be coated by sputtering and become antibacterial. The main advantage, as antibacterial coatings, is their unique (compared to the available commercial solutions) thermal and mechanical stability even in harsh environment. Hence they can be used in different areas: hospitals, public places where contamination and infection from “common” surfaces can be a problem such as in schools and daycares facilities, public transportation (e.g. buses and subways, public keyboards in ATM- automatic teller machines, telephones, and computers). Stable antibacterial surfaces are required in refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, ovens or in the food industry regarding packaging and handling, to name a few. Moreover, the metal-containing material can be also antimicrobial material, antibiofilm material, antibacterial material, anti-inflammatory material, anti-fungal material, anti-viral material, anti-cancer material and finally anti-proliferative material. It is generally recognized that silver nanoparticles may attach to the cell wall, thus disturbing cell-wall permeability and cellular respiration. The nanoparticles may also penetrate inside the cell causing damage by interacting with phosphorus- and sulphur-containing compounds such as DNA and protein. Another possible contribution to the bactericidal properties of silver nanoparticles is the release of silver ions from particles. Generally, silver does not adversely affect viable cells and does not easily provoke microbial resistance. The targeted nano-structured antibacterial coatings are composites made of hosting matrix (silica or plastic such as PS, PET) containing metal (Ag) nanoclusters, and can be deposited on different materials (e.g. polymers, metal alloys, ceramics, glasses) via several deposition techniques as RF co-sputtering, Physical Vapour Deposition, sol-gel process. The overall thickness ranging from 25 nm to 1 um, suitable for the final automotive applications. The overall project targets can be summarized as follows: – Increased healthy of suitable internal surfaces development – Highly functional and competitive products through enhancement of antibacterial property due to high control of the nanoclusters shape and dimension – Increased perceived comfort – Potentially low-cost technology through development of deposition processes on large area (sputtering, PVD, sol-gel) – Development of an industrial process with full process monitoring and control ready for implementation in actual manufacturing.
Acronym: 
SILVAC
Project ID: 
6 250
Start date: 
01-01-2011
Project Duration: 
24months
Project costs: 
800 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Micro- and Nanotechnology related to physical and exact sciences
Market Area: 
Motor Vehicles, Transportation Equipment and Parts

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.