Supported TiO2 films deposited at different energies: Implications of the surface compactness on the catalytic kinetics.
•TiO2 was sputtered on polyethylene using different deposition energies.•Different surface optical and redox properties were studied.•Different thin film compactness were achieved using different deposition energies.•Bacterial inactivation capabilities were correlated to surface properties.•TiO2 oligodynamic effect was excluded in the present work.
Insight is provided in this study for the effect of the TiO2 film densification/compactness on polyethylene (PE-TiO2) by sputtering TiO2 at two very different energy levels. Uniform, adhesive low energy films were prepared by direct current magnetron sputtering (DCMS) and compared with films sputtered at high energy levels by high power impulse magnetron sputtering (HIPIMS). Nano-particulate TiO2 films sputtered by HPIMS presented sizes of ∼10.2 nm compared to films sputtered by DCMS with TiO2 sizes of ∼16.5 nm as determined by X-ray diffraction (XRD). The E. coli inactivation kinetics was three times faster for the samples sputtered by HIPIMS compared to their DCMS counterparts. This is an unexpected finding since the DCMS presenting larger TiO2 sized nanoparticles released a higher amount of Ti-ions compared to the HIPIMS samples as monitored by inductively coupled plasma mass-spectrometry (ICP-MS). The Ti-ions released do not seem to react through an oligodynamic effect but diffuse through the less compact TiO2 sputtered by DCMS. The faster bacterial inactivation kinetics observed by the HIPIMS sputtered samples can be understood in terms of the complete of Ti4+/Ti3+redox conversion during bacterial inactivation detected by X-ray photo-electron spectroscopy (XPS) compared to the smaller Ti4+/Ti3+ effect observed in the DCMS-samples. A higher optical density was detected for the HIPIMS sputtered samples by diffuse reflectance spectroscopy (DRS). Evidence is presented for the shift in surface potential and local pH during bacterial inactivation under aerobic and anaerobic conditions. A reaction mechanism is suggested based on the findings described in this study. The sputtered films present the potential to hinder biofilm formation on flexible thin polymers/textiles widely used in hospitals and health facilities.
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Journal: Applied Catalysis B: Environmental - Volume 191, 15 August 2016, Pages 42–52