A South Korea research team successfully develops low-cost and high-performance antibacterial glass panels using iron nanoparticles.

A South Korea research team successfully develops low-cost and high-performance antibacterial glass panels using iron nanoparticles.

A research team led by Yoon Soon-gil, professor of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Chungnam National University in Daejeon, South Korea, announced that they had developed a new technique to make antibacterial glass panels using iron nanoparticles that are scratch resistant and more durable than existing products. These panels are expected to be used in smartphones due to their antibacterial nature, transparency and durability.
Because touch screens for smartphones can become coated with germs with normal use, attempts have been made to coat touch panels with nanoparticles of silver, copper, and iron, which have antibacterial characteristics. Antibacterial films using silver nanoparticles have already been commercialized because they have strong antibacterial effects. However, silver nanoparticles are vulnerable to wear after repetitive touches as they do not strongly stick to transparent glass.
The team solved the problem using iron nanoparticles. After being examined for antibacterial properties towards E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus, glass panels coated with iron nanoparticles were found to have more than 99.99 percent antibacterial activity values, similar to silver nanoparticles. The prototype panels also showed light penetrability at the level of transparent glass.
Titanium nanoparticles were inserted between iron nanoparticles and glass to enhance resistance to sliding the phone by increasing the adhesive strength between the iron nanoparticles and glass. Even after 2,000 sliding tests, the glass panel maintained more than 90 percent transparency. Additionally, the transparency and antibacterial qualities were not affected even though the iron nanoparticles were oxidized due to exposure to the air for more than three months.
Professor Yoon said the newly-developed method could be commercialized in as early as two to three years.