Nano-Scale ZnO Coating for Reduction of Biofilm Formation

Period of Performance: 06/10/2016 - 12/09/2016


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

N2 Biomedical, LLC
Firm POC
Principal Investigator


The proposed program will develop a ceramic coating with surface features, ranging from nanometer to micrometer size-scale, that will be optimized to prevent the attachment of biofilm-forming bacteria found in wastewater plumbing in life support systems in space. The coating technology offers several advantages compared to presently available processes, including low temperature deposition, a range of surface feature sizes, strong adhesion, and no toxic waste products. Phase I will deposit the anti-microbial coating on metallic and polymer samples of materials typical of those in the International Space Station (ISS), measure the mechanical and physical characteristics of the coatings, and compare bacterial and biofilm formation rate with uncoated controls. The coating with the greatest anti-microbial activity will also be demonstrated on the interior surface of tubing sections of the same ISS materials. If Phase I is successful, Phase II would expand testing to other biofilm-forming bacterial types and to other organic materials found in wastewater piping, and demonstrate coating deposition on realistic-size plumbing configurations. Phase II would also initiate intellectual property protection and develop partnerships for NASA and commercial applications. Phase III of the proposed program would see strong commercialization efforts, both in-house and through external licensing agreements.