A rugged, self-sterilizing antimicrobial copper coating on ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene: a preliminary study on the feasibility of an antimicrobial prosthetic joint material
We report here for the first time how the combination of a precursor solution and low temperature (170 °C) aerosol assisted chemical vapour deposition were used to bond a copper coating to ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) and promote robustness. This metallic thin film remained intact on the UHMWPE substrate after the Scotch tape test and showed notable wear-resistance after 10 cycles of sand paper-abrasion. Antimicrobial assays against both Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus revealed potent dark bactericidal activity with 99.999% reduction in bacterial number within 15 minutes. These results suggest that the modified UHMWPE could be a potential candidate for antimicrobial plastics and in the long term may find application in prosthetic joint applications.