Antimicrobial, antiadhesive and antifouling surfaces: The dual function of the zeta potential

Antimicrobial, antiadhesive and antifouling surfaces: The dual function of the zeta potential

Many material surfaces are prone to biofouling, which is the formation of a biofilm after long-term exposure of such materials to aqueous environments. A common solution to this problem is the application of a thin-film coating that suppresses or prevents biofouling. Different strategies exist depending on the material application and the aqueous surroundings.

The examples for antimicrobial, antiadhesive, or antifouling coatings are manifold. Food packaging with an antimicrobial coating prolongs the shelf life of packaged food. Self-disinfecting surfaces prevent the transfer of pathogens in medicine. Antiadhesive coatings suppress the accumulation of bacteria, algae, mollusks, and also shells on the metal bodies of marine ships. Fouling of polymer membranes for water treatment deteriorates the membrane performance. The need for frequent cleaning cycles or the complete failure of the membrane are prohibited by an antifouling coating. 

The actions of antimicrobial, antiadhesive, or antifouling coatings are different but commonly involve a change in the surface hydrophilicity and surface charge. Information about the latter is accessible by determining the zeta potential. This parameter of the material-water interface is decisive for the electrostatic interaction of solutes in an aqueous system with the solid surface. Furthermore, it is a powerful tool to characterize the material surface and its changes upon modification.

In this webinar we present the contribution of the surface zeta potential to better understand the functional principles of antimicrobial, antiadhesive, and antifouling coatings and material surfaces for selected applications.

PhD Thomas Luxbacher (English)
Thomas Luxbacher

Thomas Luxbacher is principal scientist for surface charge and zeta potential at Anton Paar. Prior to his present role, he was a product manager for surface zeta potential analyzers for more than 15 years. Before joining Anton Paar, Thomas gained experience in the semiconductor and automotive businesses. He received his MSc and PhD degrees in Physical Chemistry from Graz University of Technology.


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