Wings of Death - Mechanical Bactericide by Biomimetics of the Nanopillars on Insect Wings

Alexander M. Bürger, Richard W. van Nieuwenhoven, Ille C. Gebeshuber

Vienna University of Technology, Austria, Institute of Applied Physics

The wings of certain insects (for example, cicadas and dragonflies) reveal exceptional properties such as super-hydrophobicity and self-cleaning abilities. In these aspects, they are comparable to the famous lotus leaf.
Furthermore, the wings can also kill bacteria. Hexagonally arranged arrays of nanopillars (average height 200nm and 180nm center distance) are responsible for mechanically destroying bacteria (notably without
chemical bactericides).

The poster presents the surface structures of two New Zealand cicada species (Amphipsalta cingulata and Kikihia scutellaris) imaged with various methods such as Atomic Force Microscopy. The study’s main focus lies in investigating antibacterial structure properties by introducing low-cost bioimprinting techniques to transfer these structures to artificial surfaces. Such a fast and efficient reproduction approach of these antibacterial structures opens a vast field of various applications such as hospital surfaces, medical instruments, smartphone displays, and door handles.



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  • Very interesting work. Congrats to the authors. When will you join us in Düsseldorf?
    • Thank you for your nice feedback. I am curious what are your Research topics at Düsseldorf?
    • Thank you for your interest. Do not hesitate to contact us with any further questions or comments.
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