Research highlight

Materials: Insect-inspired antibacterial surfaces

Nature Communications

November 27, 2013

A synthetic antibacterial surface made of black silicon is reported in Nature Communications this week. This material takes its inspiration from the surface of dragonfly wings, which are known to have natural antibacterial properties, and could lead to the development of other biomimetic antibacterial surfaces.

The surface features of insect wings result in some interesting properties, including hydrophobicity and antibacterial activity. Elena Ivanova and colleagues analysed the surface features of dragonfly wings and noticed a distinct similarity to the surface features of the synthetic material, black silicon. Furthering this observation, they carry out a comparative study of both materials, and find that black silicon is also highly antibacterial and is active against various different types of bacteria. It is thought that these results could pave the way for black silicon now being used as a next-generation antibacterial surface.

doi: 10.1038/ncomms3838

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