ANTIMICTOBIAL SURFACE TECHNOLOGY

Bacteria, vira, and organic deposits on surfaces of toilet flushing knobs and panels, radiator panels, door handles, electrical contacts, water faucets, computer keyboards and mice, mobile telephones and tablets pose severe health risks for transmission of microbial based illnesses. The research into- and development of new types of antimicrobial surfaces and self-cleaning surface treatments are the key activities of Mion Technology.

In an evaluation of the SROI (Social Return of Investment) of the impact of the development of technologies as undertaken today by Mion Technology as an effective reduction of hospital induced infections (nosocomial infections) of only 3%, an investment of 1 DKr in the company could result in a return of 17,73 DKr, by deployment of the technological solutions offered by Mion Technology. Larger scale reductions would of course increase this SROI.

The image shows an antimicrobial surface with Copper deposited in the pores of anodised aluminium, and is recorded with an atomic force microscope (AFM).

 

 

The surface of objects is the boundary between the inner parts of these objects and the surroundings, typically in contact with other objects, with protective films or coatings to minimize wear and friction; in contact with liquids, with protective paints or chemical surface phases grown to minimize corrosion; or in contact to the ambient atmosphere, with proper treatments to minimize the influence of corrosive or active liquids and gas attacks.  Surfaces are therefore always the chemically-, and physically protective envelopes of all objects, and their visual character.

Metals and metallic alloys have for millenia been used for transport systems for water and storage systems for food and water, in some cases with catastrophic long-term consequences (Roman lead water pipes), but in other cases with beneficial antibacterial properties (copper tubing and copper barrels). Currently stainless steel and aluminium are favoured materials in the food and agricultural industries. Steel does not have antibacterial properties, and it tends to corrode from pits and crevices, or from imperfectly treated welds. Mion Technology initially bases its antimicrobial surface treatments on nanoscale copper embedded in a nanoporous alumina surface, formed on top of aluminium by an electrochemical process. 

The image is an electron microscope image of an anodised aluminium surface with pores made of alumina (aluminium oxide).

 

The forced oxidation of aluminium by an electrolytic process, called anodization, is today commonly used to strengthen and protect aluminium elements against corrosion and wear, as it forms a very strong and resistive layer of a porous oxide (alumina) on top of the bulk aluminium. The formation of this layer is a well-controlled process, which also forms the basis for the coloration of aluminium elements, or for further functionalization of the surfaces for cooking applications etc. 

To design and develop surfaces with highly antibacterial effects we have chosen to imbed copper inside the porous structures of alumina resulting after anodization of aluminium objects. With our process, the copper is contained in the form of pure metal except at the relatively narrow opening of the pores, where it is oxidized. Thus, the ionization of copper metal and metal oxide in contact with liquids provides the expected strongly antimicrobial activity for copper ions causing cell death.

The image is an electron microscope image of the porous alumina surface with Cupper nanowires filling up the pores of alumina.

 

 

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