A gecko skin micro/nano structure - a low adhesion, superhydrophobic, anti-wetting, self-cleaning, biocompatible, antibacterial surface

Watson, Gregory S., Green, David W., Schwarzkopf, Lin, Li, Xin, Cribb, Bronwen W., Myhra, Sverre and Watson, Jolanta A. (2015) A gecko skin micro/nano structure - a low adhesion, superhydrophobic, anti-wetting, self-cleaning, biocompatible, antibacterial surface. Acta Biomaterialia, 21 109-122. doi:10.1016/j.actbio.2015.03.007


Author Watson, Gregory S.
Green, David W.
Schwarzkopf, Lin
Li, Xin
Cribb, Bronwen W.
Myhra, Sverre
Watson, Jolanta A.
Title A gecko skin micro/nano structure - a low adhesion, superhydrophobic, anti-wetting, self-cleaning, biocompatible, antibacterial surface
Journal name Acta Biomaterialia   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1878-7568
1742-7061
Publication date 2015-07-15
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.actbio.2015.03.007
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 21
Start page 109
End page 122
Total pages 14
Place of publication Amsterdam, Netherlands
Publisher Elsevier
Language eng
Abstract Geckos, and specifically their feet, have attracted significant attention in recent times with the focus centred around their remarkable adhesional properties. Little attention however has been dedicated to the other remaining regions of the lizard body. In this paper we present preliminary investigations into a number of notable interfacial properties of the gecko skin focusing on solid and aqueous interactions. We show that the skin of the box-patterned gecko (Lucasium sp.) consists of dome shaped scales arranged in a hexagonal patterning. The scales comprise of spinules (hairs), from several hundred nanometres to several microns in length, with a sub-micron spacing and a small radius of curvature typically from 10 to 20 nm. This micro and nano structure of the skin exhibited ultralow adhesion with contaminating particles. The topography also provides a superhydrophobic, anti-wetting barrier which can self clean by the action of low velocity rolling or impacting droplets of various size ranges from microns to several millimetres. Water droplets which are sufficiently small (10-100 μm) can easily access valleys between the scales for efficient self-cleaning and due to their dimensions can self-propel off the surface enhancing their mobility and cleaning effect. In addition, we demonstrate that the gecko skin has an antibacterial action where Gram-negative bacteria (Porphyromonas gingivalis) are killed when exposed to the surface however eukaryotic cell compatibility (with human stem cells) is demonstrated. The multifunctional features of the gecko skin provide a potential natural template for man-made applications where specific control of liquid, solid and biological contacts is required.
Formatted abstract
Geckos, and specifically their feet, have attracted significant attention in recent times with the focus centred around their remarkable adhesional properties. Little attention however has been dedicated to the other remaining regions of the lizard body. In this paper we present preliminary investigations into a number of notable interfacial properties of the gecko skin focusing on solid and aqueous interactions. We show that the skin of the box-patterned gecko (Lucasium sp.) consists of dome shaped scales arranged in a hexagonal patterning. The scales comprise of spinules (hairs), from several hundred nanometres to several microns in length, with a sub-micron spacing and a small radius of curvature typically from 10 to 20 nm. This micro and nano structure of the skin exhibited ultralow adhesion with contaminating particles. The topography also provides a superhydrophobic, anti-wetting barrier which can self clean by the action of low velocity rolling or impacting droplets of various size ranges from microns to several millimetres. Water droplets which are sufficiently small (10–100 μm) can easily access valleys between the scales for efficient self-cleaning and due to their dimensions can self-propel off the surface enhancing their mobility and cleaning effect. In addition, we demonstrate that the gecko skin has an antibacterial action where Gram-negative bacteria (Porphyromonas gingivalis) are killed when exposed to the surface however eukaryotic cell compatibility (with human stem cells) is demonstrated. The multifunctional features of the gecko skin provide a potential natural template for man-made applications where specific control of liquid, solid and biological contacts is required.
Keyword Gecko
Adhesion
Biocompatible
Anti-wetting
Antibacterial
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2016 Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
Centre for Microscopy and Microanalysis Publications
 
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