Ultrathin coatings based on bi-elemental nanoparticles (NPs) are very promising to limit the surface-related spread of bacterial pathogens, particularly in nosocomial environments. However, tailoring the synthesis, composition, adhesion to substrate, and antimicrobial spectrum of the coating is an open challenge. Herein, we report on a radically new nanostructured coating, obtained by a one-step gas-phase deposition technique, and composed of bi-elemental Janus type Ag/Ti NPs. The NPs are characterized by a cluster-in-cluster mixing phase with metallic Ag nano-crystals embedded in amorphous TiO2 and present a promising antimicrobial activity including also multidrug resistant strains. We demonstrate the flexibility of the method to tune the embedded Ag nano-crystals dimension, the total relative composition of the coating, and the substrate type, opening the possibility of tailoring the dimension, composition, antimicrobial spectrum, and other physical/chemical properties of such multi-elemental systems. This work is expected to significantly spread the range of applications of NPs coatings, not only as an effective tool in the prevention of healthcare-associated infections but also in other technologically relevant fields like sensors or nano-/micro joining.
- Silver, Metallic coatings, Materials properties, Atomic force microscopy, Amorphous metals