‘Black silicon’ (bSi) samples with surfaces covered in nanoneedles of length ~5 µm were fabricated using a plasma etching process and then coated with a conformal uniform layer of diamond using hot filament chemical vapour deposition to produce ‘black diamond’ (bD) nanostructures. The diamond needles were then chemically terminated with H, O, NH2 or F using plasma treatment, and the hydrophilicity of the resulting surfaces were assessed using water droplet contact-angle measurements, and scaled in the order O > H ≈NH2 >F, with the F-terminated surface being superhydrophobic. The effectiveness of these differently terminated bD needles in killing the Gram-negative bacterium E. coli was semi-quantified by Live/Dead staining and fluorescence microscopy, and visualised by environmental scanning electron microscopy. The total number of adhered bacteria was consistent for all the nanostructured bD surfaces at around 50% of the value for the flat diamond control. This, combined with a chemical bactericidal effect of 20-30%, shows that the nanostructured bD surfaces supported significantly fewer viable E. coli than flat surfaces. Moreover, the bD surfaces were particularly effective at preventing the establishment of bacterial aggregates – a precursor to biofilm formation. The percentage of dead bacteria also decreased as a function of hydrophilicity. These results are consistent with a predominantly mechanical mechanism for bacteria death based on the stretching and disruption of the cell membrane, combined with an additional effect from the chemical nature of the surface.
- black diamond
- black silicon
- antimicrobial surface
Dunseath, O., Smith, E., Al-Jeda, T., Smith, J., King, S., May, P., Nobbs, A., Hazell, G., Welch, C., & Su, B. (2019). Studies of Black Diamond as an antibacterial surface for Gram Negative bacteria: the interplay between chemical and mechanical bactericidal activity. Scientific Reports, 9(1), . https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-45280-2