Self-decontaminating titanium dioxide surfaces against SARS-CoV-2 virus

The research published on ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces
sketch of virus bonded to a surface

The spread mechanism and the extreme infectivity observed for the SARS-CoV-2 virus during the recent pandemic have highlighted the necessity to develop self-decontaminating materials, which would be able to inactivate the virus and could be used for supporting surfaces or as filters, able to process large volumes of air. 

Towards this goal, titanium dioxide (TiO2) represents an ideal candidate, since it is a well-known photo-catalytic, non-toxic and largely available material, exposing stable surfaces. The addition of metal nanoparticles (NP), nowadays commonly adopted in the bio-medical field, is expected to increase the interaction with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The researchers working on the CORAERO project, in collaboration with the nanoQlab of the University of Milano-Bicocca (Prof.ssa Cristiana Di Valentin e Dott. Aldo Ugolotti) by combining experimental techniques and numerical simulations have shown that on the anatase TiO2(101) surface, through a thermal treatment and/or shining ultra-violet (UV) light, it is possible to adsorb and inactivate the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Moreover, the study identifies the key role of the spike protein in such a process and proves that the presence of palladium-based NP can further improve the performance of the material.

The results of the investigation have been reported in the paper “Adsorption and Inactivation of SARS-CoV-2 on the Surface of Anatase TiO2(101)" (DOI: 10.1021/acsami.2c22078) published on the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces (Impact Factor 10.383, Journal Citation Report (Clarivate Analytics, 2021)).