Reversibly Switching the Function of a Surface between Attacking and Defending against Bacteria


  • This work has been supported by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (HDTRA1-10-1-0074) and the Office of Naval Research (N000140910137).


original image

Attack or defend! A smart polymer surface has two reversibly switchable equilibrium states, a cationic N,N-dimethyl-2-morpholinone (CB-Ring) and a zwitterionic carboxy betaine (CB-OH). CB-Ring will kill bacteria upon contact under dry conditions, whereas CB-OH will release the previously attached and dead bacteria and further resist adhesion of bacteria under wet conditions.