Antimicrobial surfaces

Bacteria on structured copper
Bacteria on spacers
Selected metals, such as copper, have antimicrobial properties by nature and therefore have a killing effect against bacteria, viruses and fungi. The killing mechanism of copper is based on various processes:
  • Attack and destruction of the cell membrane by free copper ions (1/2)
  • Deactivation of selected proteins (3)
  • Decomposition of DNA (4)

For active killing, direct contact of the bacteria with the copper surfaces plays a decisive role. Copper ions alone are not sufficient for effective antimicrobial action.

Killing mechanisms of copper (according to Grass 2011)

Surfaces have long been known to carry pathogens and have posed major problems, especially for hospitals, not only since COVID-19. By structuring a surface using Direct Laser Interference Patterning (DLIP), we can specifically determine one dominant of two antimicrobial mechanisms and investigate the interactions at our site:

  • Structures smaller than bacteria reduce the contact areas and thus have an anti-adhesive effect
  • Structures the size of bacteria increase the contact areas, thereby enhancing the antimicrobial effect of copper

According to Helbig 2016

In use at ESA and NASA

Our antimicrobial metallic surfaces have already been investigated in 3 research projects with ESA and NASA on the ISS

Contact for questions

Dr.-Ing Dominik Britz

Deputy Head MECS Saarbrücken

+49 681 302 70540

Adrian Thome, M. Sc

Further areas of application

Machine Learning (ML)

Our services range from feasibility studies with our various approaches to exploratory data analysis with unsupervised ML.

Triboelectrical characterization

Complementary to our microstructure analysis, we are able to perform a wide variety of triboelectric measurements (e.g. electrical resistivity and coefficient of friction during mating tests) under controlled conditions.

Failure analysis

In the area of failure analysis, in addition to identifying and analyzing causes of fracture, we are also able to fully characterize components on both the macro and micro scales.

Correlative Microscopy

A correlative characterization of microstructures serves as a benchmark for automated microstructure recognition and as a starting point for machine learning approaches.

You are interested in working with us?

Feel free to contact us! We look forward to talking to you and finding out how we can help you with your project.