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Scientific Reports


The biocidal properties of gecko skin and cicada wings have inspired the synthesis of synthetic surfaces decorated with high aspect ratio nanostructures that inactivate microorganisms. Here, we investigate the bactericidal activity of oriented zinc phthalocyanine (ZnPc) nanopillars grown using a simple pencil-drawn graphite templating technique. By varying the evaporation time, nanopillars initiated from graphite that was scribbled using a pencil onto silicon substrates were optimized to yield a high inactivation of the Gram-negative bacteria, Escherichia coli. We next adapted the procedure so that analogous nanopillars could be grown from pencil-drawn graphite scribbled onto stainless steel, flexible polyimide foil, and glass substrates. Time-dependent bacterial cytotoxicity studies indicate that the oriented nanopillars grown on all four substrates inactivated up to 97% of the E. coli quickly, in 15 min or less. These results suggest that organic nanostructures, which can be easily grown on a broad range of substrates hold potential as a new class of biocidal surfaces that kill microbes quickly and potentially, without spreading antibiotic-resistance genes.






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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.