Bactericidal Characteristics of Bioinspired Nontoxic and Chemically Stable Disordered Silicon Nanopyramids

Sudhir K. Saini, Moumita Halder, Yashveer Singh, Rajesh V. Nair*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Controlling bacterial growth using artificial nanostructures inspired from natural species is of immense importance in biomedical applications. In the present work, a low cost, fast processing, and scalable anisotropic wet etching technique is developed to fabricate the densely packed disordered silicon nanopyramids (SiNPs) with nanosized sharp tips. The bactericidal characteristics of SiNPs are assessed against strains implicated in nosocomial and biomaterial-related infections. Compared to the bare silicon with no antibacterial activities, SiNPs of 1.85 ± 0.28 μm height show 55 and 75% inhibition of Escherichia coli (Gram-negative) and Bacillus subtilis (Gram-positive) bacteria, whereas the silicon nanowires (SiNWs) fabricated using a metal-assisted chemical etching method show 50 and 58% inhibition of E. coli and B. subtilis. The mechanistic studies using a scanning electron microscope and live/dead bacterial cell assay reveal cell rupture and predominance of dead cells on contact with SiNPs and SiNWs, which confirms their bactericidal effects. Chemical stability and cell viability studies demonstrate the biocompatible nature of SiNP and SiNW surfaces. Owing to their capability to kill both Gram-negative and positive bacteria and minimal toxicity to murine fibroblast cells, SiNPs can be used as an antibacterial coating on medical devices to prevent nosocomial and biomaterial-related infections.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2778-2786
Number of pages9
JournalACS Biomaterials Science and Engineering
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 11 May 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • antibacterial surface
  • bioinspired nanostructures
  • biomaterial-related infections
  • silicon nanopyramids
  • silicon nanowires


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