Quantifiable Relationship Between Antibacterial Efficacy and Electro–Mechanical Intervention on Nanowire Arrays

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

8 Scopus Citations
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  • Wenjuan Jiang
  • Qing Liao
  • Yong Li
  • Mengting Liu
  • Huaiyu Wang
  • Bin Li
  • Jianzhong Du


Original languageEnglish
Article number2212315
Journal / PublicationAdvanced Materials
Online published4 Feb 2023
Publication statusOnline published - 4 Feb 2023


Physical disruption is an important antibacterial means as it is lethal to bacteria without spurring antimicrobial resistance. However, it is very challenging to establish a quantifiable relationship between antibacterial efficacy and physical interactions such as mechanical and electrical forces. Herein, titanium nitride (TN) nanowires with adjustable orientations and capacitances are prepared to exert gradient electro–mechanical forces on bacteria. While vertical nanowires show the strongest mechanical force resulting in an antibacterial efficiency of 0.62 log reduction (vs 0.22 for tiled and 0.36 for inclined nanowires, respectively), the addition of electrical charges maximizes the electro–mechanical interactions and elevates the antibacterial efficacy to more than 3 log reduction. Biophysical and biochemical analyses indicate that electrostatic attraction by electrical charge narrows the interface. The electro–mechanical intervention more easily stiffens and rips the bacteria membrane, disturbing the electron balance and generating intracellular oxidative stress. The antibacterial ability is maintained in vivo and bacteria-challenged rats are protected from serious infection. The physical bacteria-killing process demonstrated here can be controlled by adjusting the electro–mechanical interactions. Overall, these results revealed important principles for rationally designing high-performance antibacterial interfaces for clinical applications. © 2023 Wiley-VCH GmbH.

Research Area(s)

  • antibacterial surfaces, bioelectrical, biomechanical, electro–mechanical forces, molecular dynamics