ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2021 May 4. doi: 10.1021/acsami.1c02863. Online ahead of print.
Mechanically robust bulk antimicrobial polymers are one way to address disease transmission via contaminated surfaces. Here, we demonstrate the visible light photo-oxidative cross-linking of amine-containing PDMS using a single-component, solvent-free system where amines have a dual role as antimicrobial functionalities and cross-linking sites. Rose Bengal, a xanthene dye used as a fluorescent stain, is thermally reacted with the polymer to give a solvent-free liquid siloxane that can generate reactive singlet oxygen upon aerobic green light irradiation, coupling the amine functionalities into imine cross-links. Photorheological experiments demonstrate that light intensity is the largest kinetic factor in the photo-oxidative curing of these polymers. Room temperature irradiation under an ambient atmosphere results in free-standing elastic materials with mechanical properties that depend on the amount of Rose Bengal present. An ultimate elongation strain of 117% and Young's modulus of 2.15 MPa were observed for the highest dye loading, with both mechanical properties found to be higher than those for the same solution-based dye amounts. We demonstrate that the solvent-free nature of the material can be exploited to generate 3D structures using low-temperature deposition as well as direct-write patterning and photolithography on glass substrates. The antimicrobial activity was investigated, with the cross-linked material demonstrating greater efficacy against E. coli (Gram negative) compared with MRSA (Gram positive) bacterial strains and inducing complete cell lysis of incubated CHO-K1 mammalian cells, demonstrating applicability as a mechanically robust single-component antimicrobial elastomer.