Electroactive anti-microbial surfaces
Electroactive materials are becoming an increasingly important component of many electronic devices designed to interface with biological systems. While much of this work has been driven towards developing electrical stimulation protocols and novel electroactive materials to enhance interfacing with mammalian cells and tissues for therapeutic biomedical applications, electrically driven processes have been shown to be highly tailorable and effective at preventing microbial fouling of the electrode surface. In this chapter we review the range of electrical stimulation paradigms that have been investigated to deactivate and/or repel microbial organisms from electrode surfaces. The mechanisms through which electrical stimulation acts to kill bacterial cells will be discussed, and the application of new polymeric electroactive materials that offer great scope to modulate materials chemistry and fabrication processes to further enhance antimicrobial activity will be reviewed. Finally we look forward towards the innovations that will bring forth the next generation of electroactive antimicrobial materials that promise to provide solutions for a range of diverse applications.
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