The surface of elastic polyurethane treated by plasma immersion N2(+) ion implantation at different fluences has been investigated. A folded surface structure is observed in all cases. Analysis has been performed to study the structural (roughness, steepness and fraction of folds, fractal characteristics), mechanical (stiffness, adhesion force between the AFM probe and the material) and wetting properties of surfaces. Under uniaxial stretching the cracks orthogonal to the axis of deformation and longitudinal folds are formed on the examined surfaces. After unloading the initial structure of the surface of deformed materials exposed to low fluences becomes smoother and does not recover, i.e. it has plastic properties. By contrast, the structure of the surfaces of materials subjected to high-fluence treatment recovers without visible changes and the cracks are fully closed. The study of Staphylococcus colonies grown on these materials has demonstrated significant reduction (from 3 to 5 times) in the vitality of bacteria on treated surfaces. This result was repeated on samples after 11 months of storage. Such antibacterial properties are primarily related to the structural changes of the surfaces accompanied by the increased hydrophilicity.
Keywords: Atomic force microscopy; Bacterial adhesion; Plasma immersion ion implantation; Polyurethane; Structural mechanical properties.
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