The antimicrobial properties of Ag-based materials have been actively investigated recently. In such materials, control of the size of the Ag particles is critical to their bactericidal performance. A novel one-pot sol-gel scheme is described here. It incorporates room-temperature ionic liquids (RTILs) to synthesize Ag/TiO2nanocomposite powders. The presence of RTILs is indispensable to the control of the size of the Ag particles. Highly dispersed, metallic Ag nanoclusters are formed on the TiO2nanoparticle surface after calcination of the gel. The average cluster size of Ag can be controlled to be below 5 nm with high Ag loading (7.4wt%). Antibacterial tests using 7.4wt% Ag/TiO2on 105CFU/mL Escherichia coli (E. coli) strains incubated on Luria-Bertani (LB)/agar plates show that bacterial growth was inhibited by 98.8% at an Ag concentration of 1.2 μg/mL. Complete inhibition was achieved at 2.4 μg(Ag)/mL. At this concentration, a 3.9wt% Ag/TiO2sample, with a smaller Ag cluster size (<3 nm), completely inhibited bacterial growth in a more populated E. coli community (∼3 × 106CFU/mL). In fact, 1.6 μg/mL Ag suppressed bacterial growth by 99.9% with 3.9wt% Ag/TiO2. Both the small Ag cluster size and the unique structure of TiO2nanoparticles supporting highly dispersed Ag clusters are identified to be the sources of a superior bactericidal performance of the RTILs-derived Ag/TiO2.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Chemistry