The principle of antimicrobial photodynamic therapy (PDT) is appealing because it can be controlled by an external light source and possibly the use of durable materials. However, to utilise such surfaces requires a process for their production that allows for coating on even complex geometries. We have therefore explored the ability of the emerging molecular layer deposition (MLD) technique to produce and tune PDT active materials. This study demonstrates how the type of aromatic ligand influences the optical and antimicrobial properties of photoactive Zr-organic hybrid thin films made by MLD. The three aromatic dicarboxylic acids: 2,5-dihydroxy-1,4-benzenedicarboxylic acid, 2-amino-1,4-benzenedicarboxylic acid and 2,6-naphthalenedicarboxylic acid have been combined with ZrCl4 to produce hybrid coatings. The first system has not been previously described by MLD and is therefore more thoroughly investigated using in situ quartz crystal microbalance (QCM), Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) and UV-Vis spectroscopy. The antibacterial phototoxic effects of Zr-organic hybrids have been explored in the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria model using a UVA/blue light source. Films based on the 2,6-naphthalenedicarboxylic acid linker significantly reduced the number of viable bacteria by 99.9%, while no apparent activity was observed for the two other photoactive systems. Our work thus provides evidence that the MLD technique is a suitable tool to produce high-quality novel materials for possible applications in antimicrobial PDT, however it requires a careful selection of aromatic ligands used to construct photoactive materials.

Photoactive Zr-aromatic hybrid thin films made by molecular layer deposition
Rogowska M, Bruzell E, Valen H, Nilsen O
Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) Advances, 2022, 12, 15718–15727
DOI: 10.1039/d2ra02004a