No Harm, No Foul: A Liquid-Based Anti-Fouling Coating for Medical Applications
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AbstractSlippery Liquid Infused Porous Surfaces (SLIPS) are a class of repellent surface coatings that are composed of a porous film infiltrated with an oil matching in chemistry to the solid porous surface. They show particular promise in medical applications where there is a need for materials that prevent blood-material contact and associated concerns such as clot formation, infection, and the foreign body response. One application that faces challenges associated with physiological fluid contact is endoscopy where the visual field of the camera lens is often occluded by the wetting and spreading of body fluids that impair vision and prevent the continued effective function of the endoscope.
This work describes the development of a new slippery coating that possesses several key properties required for anti-fouling endoscope lenses that are difficult to achieve in combination: conformability, ability to modify various materials (i.e., metals and polymers commonly used as medical materials), mechanical robustness, biocompatibility, repeated repellency of physiological fluids, and transparency. Due to relevance in implant applications, we also investigate the interaction of cells with slippery surfaces as they explore the surface for attachment.
The coating developed here can also be applied to all camera-guided instruments that encounter fouling such as those used in oil field and marine exploration, sanitation inspections, robotics, and optical sensors. These slippery coatings have broader uses ranging from medicine (where they can be combined with drug delivery applications to impart a combined anti-fouling and therapeutic effect) to marine applications where they prevent marine organism attachment on ship hulls.
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