Dragonfly wings are covered in bacteria-killing nanopillars, and scientists are taking inspiration from them to make smarter anti-bacterial surfaces!
Insect wings inspire antibacterial surfaces for corneal transplants, other medical devices
“Someday, cicadas and dragonflies might save your sight. The key to this power lies in their wings, which are coated with a forest of tiny pointed pillars that impale and kill bacterial cells unlucky enough to land on them. Now, scientists report they have replicated these antibacterial nanopillars on synthetic polymers that are being developed to restore vision.”
Why Dragonfly Wings Kill Bacteria
“Yet another group used black silicon to create a surface that resembled a tiny ‘bed of nails’ (nanopillars), which physically rip bacteria apart. That latter example, which falls into a broad category known as nano-textured surfaces (NTS), is of particular interest because it also exists in nature. The nanostructure of black silicon is very similar to that of dragonfly wings. And just like their elemental counterpart, dragonfly wings kill bacteria.”
Insect Wings Shred Bacteria to Pieces
“Lead study author Elena Ivanova of Australia’s Swinburne University of Technology in Hawthorne, Victoria, says that she was surprised that the bacterial cells are not actually punctured by the nanopillars. The rupturing effect is more like ‘the stretching of an elastic sheet of some kind, such as a latex glove. If you take hold of a piece of latex in both hands and slowly stretch it, it will become thinner at the center, [and] will begin to tear,’ she explains.”
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Written By: Chante Owens