'Smart' Surface Coating Repels and Accepts Certain Substances

Researchers at McMaster University (Hamilton, Ontario, Canada) have engineered a “smart” surface coating that repels bacteria, viruses, and living cells while permitting beneficial exceptions. The coating utilizes a nanotechnology known as self-assembled monolayers that spontaneously form on surfaces by adsorption, or the adhesion of non-solid atoms, ions, or molecules to a surface.

While surface coatings that completely repel foreign objects have existed since 2011, the McMaster research team sough to design a coating that would modify those reactions. As a result, the new technology has a number of practical applications, including waterproofing cell phones and windshields and protecting food preparation areas from harmful bacteria.

“It was a huge achievement to have completely repellent surfaces, but to maximize the benefits of such surfaces, we needed to create a selective door that would allow beneficial elements to bond with those surfaces,” says Tohid Didar, an assistant professor in McMaster’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and School of Biomedical Engineering.

In addition, this nanotechnology has potential, if limited, applications in the medical field in cases such as bonding implant body parts surgically without risking infection or blood clotting.

The results of the study were published in a paper Didar co-authored with McMaster PhD biomedical engineering students Sara Imani and Maryam Badv for the American Chemical Society journal ACS Nano

Source: McMaster University – Department of Mechanical Engineering, www.eng.mcmaster.ca