Optimising antimicrobial & residuality of polymer-surfactant films

The current COVID-19 crisis has emphasised the critical importance of extremely high hygiene standards at home,work and in public spaces.

As well as immediately killing microbes on surfaces, the ability of products to have longlasting antimicrobial protection is vital. Most of the products currently sold today only remove and/or kill 99.9% of the microbes after a single application, allowing bacteria to be quickly reintroduced to surfaces. However, controlled deposition of polymer/surfactant formulations onto surfaces can provide long-lasting antimicrobial residuality, delivering long-lasting kill without the need for repeated sanitisation.

In this project we aim to optimise this technology by understanding the structures present in polymer films, developing structure-residuality relationships and interrogating the roles of polymer, surfactant and substrate properties on residuality and cleaning performance in a range of application areas. ESRF/ILL offer unique possibilities for probing the interactions in these systems, both in and out of equilibrium. Complementary techniques including X-ray reflectivity (XRR), GISAXS/GIXRD, micro-focused XRD and neutron reflectivity will be necessary to characterise the interfacial structures and structural evolution dynamics of surfactant and polymer self-assemblies in dried films.

Complementing these analyses with studies of aggregates in solutions using SAXS and SANS, alongside employing the characterisation capabilities of the PSCM laboratories, will provide detailed correlation between self-assembled structures in the solution and the ultimate interfacial structures.



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Egor Bersenev is working on the optimising antimicrobial & cleaning longevity & residuality of polymer-surfactant films project. This project sees collaboration between the ESRF, ILL,  Procter & Gamble and the University of Bristol.