Antibacterial Laser Tattoos

OK … not really, but yeah sort of.

Researchers at Purdue University transform regular copper (Cu) into laser-textured copper (LT-Cu) capable of killing a number of bacterial strains including MRSA in anywhere from 40 to 120 minutes.

The short story on this technique is that the laser etches micron (one thousandth of a millimeter) and nanometer (one millionth of a millimeter) patterns onto the surface of copper in a way that dramatically increases the surface area upon which said bacteria will rupture. Basically, they fall on the equivalent of jagged rocks. The picture below is from the video above.

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Another feature of the process is how it makes the surface hydrophilic, which is just a fancy way to say that it likes water and wet things. This property makes it easy for the bacteria to fall (attach) to the surface in a manner that subsequently results in the bacteria being shredded by the jagged features of the altered surface. Bad for bacteria, but good for various orthopedic implants where its good to have bone material fuse with the implant material.

So … it’s a win-win scenario for everyone but the bacterial bugs. #tattoossavelives

“Hierarchical Micro/Mesoporous Copper Structure with Enhanced Antimicrobial Property via Laser Surface Texturing” by Vidhya Selvamani, Amin Zareei, Ahmed Elkashif, Murali Kannan Maruthamuthu, Shirisha Chittiboyina, Davide Delisi, Zheng Li, Lirong Cai, Vilas G. Pol, Mohamed N. Seleem and Rahim Rahimi, 11 February 2020, Advanced Materials Interfaces.
DOI: 10.1002/admi.201901890

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