Rapid progress in thin-film coatings based on metals, which can be deposited on polymers, has been recently observed. In this work discussion on the properties of modified polymers and silver thin films deposited on polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) and polycarbonate (PC) substrates has been presented. Surface of these polymer substrates were exposed to argon plasma discharge. Additionally, silver thin films were deposited on their surface by electron beam evaporation method. The surfaces of the modified polymers were studied by different methods, i.e. topography, wettability and scratch resistance measurements were performed. The ageing effect of treated substrates was also discussed. It was shown that plasma modification of PTFE and PC substrates increased wettability of their surfaces. The value of water contact angle decreased of about 40 % and 25 % for PTFE and PC surface, respectively. The change of hydrophobic to hydrophilic properties was observed. Plasma modification of substrates improved adhesion between silver coating and polymer substrates. However, it did not influence wettability of Ag coating.
The biological and photocatalytic activity of TiO2 and TiO2:Cu in relation to their structure, surface topography, wettability and optical properties of the thin films was investigated. Thin-film coatings were prepared by magnetron sputtering method in oxygen plasma with use of metallic targets (Ti and Ti-Cu). The results of structural studies revealed that addition of Cu into titania matrix (during the deposition process) resulted in obtaining of an amorphous film, while in case of undoped TiO2, presence of nanocrystalline anatase (with crystallites size of 20 nm) was found. Moreover, an addition of cooper had also an effect on surface diversification and decrease of its hydrophilicity. The roughness of TiO2:Cu film was 25 % lower (0.6 nm) as-compared to titania (0.8 nm). These modifications of TiO2:Cu had an impact on the decrease of its photocatalytic activity, probably as a result of the active surface area decrease. Antibacterial and antifungal properties of the thin films against bacteria (Enterococcus hirae, Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus subtilis, Escherichia coli) and yeast (Candida albicans) were also examined. For the purpose of this work the method dedicated for the evaluation of antimicrobial properties of thin films was developed. It was revealed that Cu-additive has a positive impact on neutralization of microorganisms.
Titanium dioxide thin films doped with the same amount of neodymium were prepared using two different magnetron sputtering methods. Thin films of anatase structure were deposited with the aid of Low Pressure Hot Target Magnetron Sputtering, while rutile coatings were manufactured using High Energy Reactive Magnetron Sputtering process. The thin films composition was determined by energy dispersive spectroscopy and the amount of the dopant was equal to 1 at. %. Structural properties were evaluated using transmission electron microscopy and revealed that anatase films had fibrous structure, while rutile had densely packed columnar structure. Atomic force microscopy investigations showed that the surface of both films was homogenous and consisted of nanocrystalline grains. Photocatalytic activity was assessed based on the phenol decomposition. Results showed that both thin films were photocatalytically active, however coating with anatase phase decomposed higher amount of phenol. The transparency of both thin films was high and equal to ca. 80% in the visible wavelength range. The photoluminescence intensity was much higher in case of the coating with rutile structure.
In this work the physicochemical and biological properties of nanocrystalline TiO2 thin films were investigated. Thin films were prepared by magnetron sputtering method. Their properties were examined by X-ray diffraction, photoelectron spectroscopy, atomic force microscopy, optical transmission method and optical profiler. Moreover, surface wettability and scratch resistance were determined. It was found that as-deposited coatings were nanocrystalline and had TiO2-anatase structure, built from crystallites in size of 24 nm. The surface of the films was homogenous, composed of closely packed grains and hydrophilic. Due to nanocrystalline structure thin films exhibited good scratch resistance. The results were correlated to the biological activity (in vitro) of thin films. Morphological changes of mouse fibroblasts (L929 cell line) after contact with the surface of TiO2 films were evaluated with the use of a contrast-phase microscope, while their viability was tested by MTT colorimetric assay. The viability of cell line upon contact with the surface of nanocrystalline TiO2 film was comparable to the control sample. L929 cells had homogenous cytoplasm and were forming a confluent monofilm, while lysis and inhibition of cell growth was not observed. Moreover, the viability in contact with surface of examined films was high. This confirms non-cytotoxic effect of TiO2 film surface on mouse fibroblasts.
In this work, the effect of titanium dioxide (TiO2) thin film microstructure on photocatalytic and biological activity was described. The films were prepared by low-pressure and high-energy magnetron sputtering processes. The structural investigations performed by X-ray diffraction revealed that the films from both the processes were nanocrystalline. It was found that TiO2 prepared by low-pressure process had the anatase structure with crystallites in size of 20 nm, while the film deposited in high-energy process had the rutile form with crystallites in size of 5 nm. The analysis of surface topography with the aid of optical profiler showed that all prepared films were homogenous and their roughness was lower than 1 nm. The wettability studies revealed hydrophilic nature of both films. The values of water contact angle obtained for anatase and rutile films were equal to 40° and 49°, respectively. Both types of the thin films were photocatalitycally active, but rutile exhibited higher decomposition rate as compared to anatase. During the photocatalytic reaction in the presence of TiO2-rutile film after 12 hours of UV-Vis irradiation 30 % of phenol was decomposed, whereas in case of TiO2-anatase it was only 10 %. Moreover, the influence of as-deposited coatings on the growth of selected microbes (Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Candida albicans) was examined. It was found that the structural properties of TiO2 had an effect on biological activity of these films.