Project

BioCombs4Nanofibers - Antiadhesive Bionic Combs for Handling of Nanofibers (EU HORIZON 2020)

Goal: Challenge: Nanofibers are constantly drawing the attention of material scientists and engineers as their surface-to-used-material-ratio is beneficial for, e.g., medical applications. However, technical nanofiber processing, transportation or even simple things as spooling is inhibited by their attraction to any surface by van der Waals forces, the adhesive forces also enabling geckos to stick to the wall. Recent research aims for scale-up of the controllable production of nanofibers though have not enabled an easier handling and thus their application is still limited. A specific kind of nanofibers are nanofibrous protrusions of adherent cells and microorganisms. The interaction of these fibers with nanostructures is a key feature for their controlled adhesion at natural or artificial surfaces.

Inspiration by nature: One major problem for handling of nanofibers is their stickiness to almost any surface due to van der Waals forces. However, there is a biological example to show how to tackle this problem in the future: cribellate spiders bear a specialized comb, the calamistrum, to handle and process nanofibers, which are assembled to their structural complex capture threads. These 10 – 30 nm thick fibers do not stick to the calamistrum due to a special fingerprint-like nanostructure. This structure causes the nanofibers to not smoothly adapt to the surface of the calamistrum, but rather minimizes contact and thus reduce the adhesive forces between the nanofibers and the calamistrum.

Radically new technological approach: BioCombs4Nanofibers aims to transfer these bionic comb structures to technical surfaces featuring antiadhesive properties that will enable future tools for nanofiber handling. Similar nanostructures can hinder the adhesion of nanofibrous protrusions of cells or microorganisms, which may enable cell-repellent or antiseptic areas on medical devices and implants.

BioCombs4NanoFibers is a Research and Innovation Action funded by the European Community’s Horizon 2020 - FET Open Programme, which supports early-stage research on any idea for a new technology (Grant Agreement no: 862016, Call FETOPEN-01-2018-2019-2020 - FET-Open Challenging Current Thinking). It brings together 6 partners from 5 different countries. The project consortium is strongly interdisciplinary combining renowned academic and industrial experts from the fields of zoology, physics, mechatronics, life sciences, materials sciences, laser-matter interaction, nanofiber technology, and biomimetics. The joint project consortium forms an excellent base for fundamental and applied research in the field of bionic surfaces.

Website: https://cordis.europa.eu/project/rcn/225007/factsheet/en

Date: 1 October 2019 - 30 September 2022

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Project log

Anna-Christin Joel
added an update
A new publication highlights the influence of prey capturing onto the mechanics of silken capture threads
 
Jörn Bonse
added an update
Three talks were presented by members of the BioCombs4Nanofibers project consortium during the 10th International LIPSS Workshop, organized in Orléans, France, September 21st - 23rd 2022:
(1) Cristina Plamadeala, et al. (JKU): "Bio-inspired laser micro- and nanopatterning for fluid transport and anti-adhesive properties", September 21st 2022,
(2) George D Tsibidis , et al. (FORTH): "How the combination of electromagnetic effects and thermophysical properties of solids influences the formation of laser induced periodic surface structures", September 21st 2022,
(3) Jörn Bonse, et al. (BAM and FSU Jena): "Laser-induced periodic surface structures (LIPSS): mechanisms, applications, and unsolved problems", September 22nd 2022.
 
Jörn Bonse
added an update
An invited plenary talk "Laser-induced Periodic Surface Structures: Mechanisms, Applications, and unsolved Problems, by J. Bonse, K. Wasmuth, H. Voss, J. Krüger, and S. Gräf was presented by Jörn Bonse during the 31st Summer School and International Symposium on the Physics of Ionized Gases (SPIG 2022, Belgrade, Serbia) on September 8th, 2022 as remote presentation.
 
Jörn Bonse
added an update
An international workshop on “Laser Processing of Bionic Surfaces” was held on August 5th 2022 at BAM (Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung) in Berlin, Germany. The workshop provided a platform to establish future interdisciplinary international research collaborations between academic and industrial partners and the BioCombs4Nanofibers project consortium, promoting bionic strategies and laser applications in the fields of materials research, physics, chemistry, biology, and life-science.
 
Jörn Bonse
added an update
Our video for the broader public "BioCombs4Nanofibers: from Nanofibers over Spiders to Bacteria" is published now under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Open Access license:
 
Jörn Bonse
added a research item
This 6 minute long MP4-video presents some key results of the European research project "BioCombs4Nanofibers" to the broader public. Inspired by nature, some concepts of certain types of spiders are transferred to technology in order to develop bacteria-repellent surfaces through laser surface nanostructuring. Funding notice: This study was funded by the European Union's research and innovation program under the FET Open grant agreement No. 862016 (BioCombs4Nanofibers, http://biocombs4nanofibers.eu ). This video is published under the Creative Commons - CC BY - Attribution 4.0 International license, https://nbn-resolving.org/urn:nbn:de:kobv:b43-549394 A video stream can be found at https://download.jku.at/org/7kM/xyU/BioCombs4Nanofibers/D5.6_video%20for%20the%20broader%20public_23.03.2022.mp4
Jörn Bonse
added an update
Key results from the BioCombs4Nanofibers project were discussed in a 3-page article "Laser-created ripples repel bacteria", written by Andreas Thoss, in the June 2022 issue of the magazine Laser Focus World that is covering recent developments in the fields of lasers, photonics and optoelectronics technologies, applications, and markets.
Article lead - "Researchers apply lasers and lessons learned from spiders to structure a surface bacteria can’t stick to."
The entire article is available here..
Link to web-article:
Link to paginated PDF-version:
 
Jörn Bonse
added an update
A plenary talk "Laser and plasma based techniques for preparation and functionalization of biomimetic surfaces for nanofibers handling", by I.A. Paun, A. Palla-Papavlu, G. Dinescu, S. Brajnicov, B. Calin, M. Filipescu, A. Moldovan, C. Mustaciosu, E. Vasile, M. Dinescu was presented by M. Dinescu at the 12th International Conference on Materials Science and Engineering, BRAMAT, Brasov, Romania, 9 - 12 March 2022.
 
Jörn Bonse
added an update
An invited talk "Bio-inspired Laser Micro- and Nanopatterning of Materials", by J. Heitz, G. Buchberger, C. Plamadeala, M. Muck, W. Baumgartner, A.W. Hassel, D. Knapic was presented by J. Heitz on May 31st, 2022 at the Symposium Q "Fundamental and applicative research in laser-material interactions" during the 2022 Spring Meeting of the European Materials Research Society (E-MRS) [Virtual Conference].
Abstract: Bio-inspired micro- and nanopatterning of materials by means of laser radiation is a rapidly growing field to tailor special industrial, medical, and scientific applications. This is significantly driven by the exciting properties of micro- and nanopatterned materials found in natural biological species, including pronounced adhesive and anti-adhesive properties, wetting and directional fluid transport, and control of cell growth. The structuring techniques addressed here focus on developments in laser processing using short and ultrashort laser pulses. This includes the self-organized formation of micro- and nanopatterns at surfaces induced by exposure to laser radiation as well as direct writing techniques such as two-photon polymerization.
 
Jörn Bonse
added an update
An invited talk "A brief survey on open questions about laser-induced periodic surface structures", by J. Bonse, C. Florian, M. Mezera, K. Wasmuth, A.M. Richter, K. Schwibbert, J. Krüger, F.A. Müller, S. Gräf was presented by J. Bonse on May 31st, 2022 at the Symposium Q "Fundamental and applicative research in laser-material interactions" during the 2022 Spring Meeting of the European Materials Research Society (E-MRS) [Virtual Conference].
Abstract: The processing of laser-induced periodic surface structures (LIPSS) represents a simple and robust way for the nanostructuring of solids that allows creating a wide range of surface functionalities featuring applications in optics, tribology, medicine, energy technologies, etc. While the currently available laser and scanner technology already allows surface processing rates at the m2/min level, industrial applications of LIPSS are sometimes hampered by the complex interplay between the nanoscale surface topography and the specific surface chemistry. This typically manifests in difficulties to control the processing of LIPSS and in limitations to ensure the long-term stability of the created surface functions. This presentation aims to identify some unsolved scientific problems related to LIPSS, discusses the pending technological limitations, and sketches the current state of theoretical modelling. Hereby, it is intended to stimulate further research and developments in the field of LIPSS for overcoming these limitations and for supporting the transfer of the LIPSS technology into industry.
 
Jörn Bonse
added an update
A talk "Application of matrix-assisted pulsed laser evaporation for the realization of superhydrophobic polymer surfaces", by S. Brajnicov, A. Palla-Papavlu, M. Filipescu, V. Satulu, T. Tozar, M. Dinescu, based on BioCombs4Nanofibers results, was presented on May 30th, 2022 at the Symposium Q "Fundamental and applicative research in laser-material interactions" during the 2022 Spring Meeting of the European Materials Research Society (E-MRS) [Virtual Conference].
Abstract: The fabrication of superhydrophobic polymer surfaces is of high interest both in research and industrial applications. Now, with the help of laser-based techniques, by combining surface architecture with surface chemistry it is possible to attain superhydrophobicity. In this paper we show our recent progress in obtaining superhydrophobic polymer surfaces by matrix assisted pulsed laser evaporation (MAPLE) onto different types of substrates (flexible and rigid pre-patterned). In MAPLE the Nafion fluorpolymer is suspended (1-3 %wt) in a mixture of water and ethanol at different concentrations, which is then frozen and subjected to laser irradiation in a vacuum chamber. The laser radiation is absorbed by the solvent which mechanically transports the material molecules to a substrate placed parallel with the frozen target and at a distance of several cm. The as obtained polymer coatings are chemically, morphologically, and structurally tested and their adhesive properties are evaluated. In addition, we propose an explanation for the fabrication strategy of superhydrophobic surfaces and finally, we present a potential application and draw general conclusions along this proposed guideline for designing superhydrophobic polymer coatings by MAPLE.
 
Jörn Bonse
added an update
A talk "Reducing Escherichia coli adhesion to PET by modulating spatial periods of laser-induced surface nanoripples", by A.M. Richter, G. Buchberger, D. Stifter, J. Duchoslav, A. Hertwig, J. Bonse, J. Heitz, K. Schwibbert, based on BioCombs4Nanofibers results, was presented on May 31st, 2022 at the Symposium Q "Fundamental and applicative research in laser-material interactions" during the 2022 Spring Meeting of the European Materials Research Society (E-MRS) [Virtual Conference].
Abstract: Using nanofiber-like cell appendages, secreted proteins and sugars, bacteria can establish initial surface contact followed by irreversible adhesion and the formation of multicellular biofilms. Here, the stabilizing extracellular biofilm matrix together with physiological changes on the single cell level leads to an increased resilience towards harsh environmental conditions, antimicrobials, the host immune response and established cleaning procedures. Persistent microbial adhesion on e.g., medical implants, in water supply networks or food-processing industry is often associated with chronic inflammation, nosocomial and foodborne infections, enhanced biofouling and product contamination. To prevent persistent microbial colonization, antibacterial surface strategies often target the initial steps of biofilm formation and impede adhesion of single cells before a mature biofilm is being formed. While chemical coatings have been widely used, their restricted biocompatibility for eukaryotic cells and attenuated antibacterial-effects due to compound release limit their areas of application and alternative strategies focus on modified surfaces topographies to impede bacterial adhesion. In this work, we used ns-UV laser treatment (wavelength 248 nm and a pulse duration of 20 ns) to generate laser-induced periodic surface structures (LIPSS) with different submicrometric periods ranging from ~210 to ~610 nm on commercial poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) foils. Following structurally and chemically analyses, PET samples were subjected to bacterial colonization studies with Escherichia coli TG1, a bacterial test strain with a strong biofilm formation capacity due to the formation of nanofiber-like cell-appendages (pili). Bacterial adhesion tests revealed that E. coli repellence decisively depends on the spatial periods of the LIPSS with the strongest reduction (~91%) in cell adhesion observed for LIPSS periods of 214 nm. Scanning electron microscopy and additional biofilm studies using a pili-deficient E. coli TG1 strain revealed the importance of extracellular appendages in the bacterial repellence observed here, thus, pointing out new antibiotics-free strategies for antibacterial surfaces by impeding nanofiber-mediated bacterial adhesion.
 
Jörn Bonse
added an update
An invited talk "Laser-induced periodic surface structures: when Maxwell meets Marangoni“, by J. Bonse, M. Mezera, C. Florian, J. Krüger, and S. Gräf was presented by Jörn Bonse during the 16th International Conference on Laser Ablation (COLA 2021/2022, Matsue, Japan) on April 27th, 2022.
 
Jörn Bonse
added a research item
Nanofibers are drawing the attention of engineers and scientists because their large surface-to-volume ratio is favorable for applications in medicine, filter technology, textile industry, use in lithium-air batteries and in optical sensors. However, when transferring nanofibers to a technical product in the form of a random network of fibers, referred to as non-woven fabric, the stickiness of the freshly produced and thus fragile nanofiber non-woven remains a problem. This is mainly because nanofibers strongly adhere to any surface because of van der Waals forces. In nature, there are animals that are actually able to efficiently produce, process, and handle nanofibers: cribellate spiders. For that, the spiders use the calamistrum, a comb-like structure of modified setae on the metatarsus of the hindmost (fourth) legs, to which the 10 – 30 nm thick silk nanofibers do not stick due to a special fingerprint-like surface nanostructure. In this work, we present a theoretical model of the interaction of linear nanofibers with a sinusoidal corrugated surface. This model allows a prediction of the adhesive interaction and, thus, the design of a suitable surface structure to prevent sticking of an artificially non-woven of nanofibers. According to the theoretical prediction, a technical analogon of the nanoripples was produced by ultrashort pulse laser processing on different technically relevant metal surfaces in the form of so-called laser-induced periodic surface structures (LIPSS). Subsequently, by means of a newly established peel-off test, the adhesion of an electrospun polyamide fiber-based non-woven was quantified on such LIPSS-covered titanium-alloy and steel samples, as well as on polished (flat) control samples as reference. The latter revealed that the adhesion of electrospun nanofiber non-woven is significantly lowered on the nanostructured surfaces than on the polished surfaces.
George D Tsibidis
added a research item
We present a novel approach for tailoring the laser induced surface topography upon femtosecond (fs) pulsed laser irra-diation. The method employs spatially controlled double fs laser pulses to actively regulate the hydrodynamic microfluid-ic motion of the melted layer that gives rise to the structures formation. The pulse train used, in particular, consists of apreviously unexplored spatiotemporal intensity combination including one pulse with Gaussian and another with periodic-ally modulated intensity distribution created by Direct Laser Interference Patterning (DLIP). The interpulse delay is appro-priately chosen to reveal the contribution of the microfluidic melt flow, while it is found that the sequence of the Gaussianand DLIP pulses remarkably influences the surface profile attained. Results also demonstrate that both the spatial intens-ity of the double pulse and the effective number of pulses per irradiation spot can further be modulated to control theformation of complex surface morphologies. The underlying physical processes behind the complex patterns’ generationwere interpreted in terms of a multiscale model combining electron excitation with melt hydrodynamics. We believe thatthis work can constitute a significant step forward towards producing laser induced surface structures on demand by tail-oring the melt microfluidic phenomena. ].
Jörn Bonse
added an update
A video was created for the broader public. The 6 minute long video "BioCombs4Nanofibers: from Nanofibers over Spiders to Bacteria" (MP4 format) is publically available and can be streamed from the projects webpage:
 
Private Profile
added a research item
The fabrication of complex, reproducible, and accurate micro-and nanostructured interfaces that impede the interaction between material’s surface and different cell types represents an important objective in the development of medical devices. This can be achieved by topographical means such as dual-scale structures, mainly represented by microstructures with surface nanopatterning. Fabrication via laser irradiation of materials seems promising. However, laser-assisted fabrication of dual-scale structures, i.e., ripples relies on stochastic processes deriving from laser–matter interaction, limiting the control over the structures’ topography. In this paper, we report on laser fabrication of cell-repellent dual-scale 3D structures with fully reproducible and high spatial accuracy topographies. Structures were designed as micrometric “mushrooms” decorated with fingerprint-like nanometric features with heights and periodicities close to those of the calamistrum, i.e., 200–300 nm. They were fabricated by Laser Direct Writing via Two-Photon Polymerization of IP-Dip photoresist. Design and laser writing parameters were optimized for conferring cell-repellent properties to the structures, even for high cellular densities in the culture medium. The structures were most efficient in repelling the cells when the fingerprint-like features had periodicities and heights of @200 nm, fairly close to the repellent surfaces of the calamistrum. Laser power was the most important parameter for the optimization protocol.
George D Tsibidis
added 2 research items
The efficiency of light coupling to surface plasmon polariton (SPP) represents a very important issue in plasmonics and laser fabrication of topographies in various solids. To illustrate the role of pre-patterned surfaces and impact of laser polarisation in the excitation of electromagnetic modes and periodic pattern formation, Nickel surfaces are irradiated with femtosecond laser pulses of polarisation perpendicular or parallel to the orientation of the pre-pattern ridges. Experimental results indicate that for polarisation parallel to the ridges, laser induced periodic surface structures (LIPSS) are formed perpendicularly to the pre-pattern with a frequency that is independent of the distance between the ridges and periodicities close to the wavelength of the excited SPP. By contrast, for polarisation perpendicular to the pre-pattern, the periodicities of the LIPSS are closely correlated to the distance between the ridges for pre-pattern distance larger than the laser wavelength. The experimental observations are interpreted through a multi-scale physical model in which the impact of the interference of the electromagnetic modes is revealed.
Femtosecond laser induced changes on the topography of stainless steel with double pulses is investigated to reveal the role of parameters such as the fluence, the energy dose and the interpulse delay on the features of the produced patterns. Our results indicate that short pulse separation (Δτ = 5 ps) favors the formation of 2D Low Spatially Frequency Laser Induced Periodic Surface Structures (LSFL) while longer interpulse delays (Δτ = 20 ps) lead to 2D High Spatially Frequency LIPSS (HSFL). The detailed investigation is complemented with an analysis of the produced surface patterns and characterization of their wetting and cell-adhesion properties. A correlation between the surface roughness and the contact angle is presented which confirms that topographies of variable roughness and complexity exhibit different wetting properties. Furthermore, our analysis indicates that patterns with different spatial characteristics demonstrate variable cell adhesion response which suggests that the methodology can be used as a strategy towards the fabrication of tailored surfaces for the development of functional implants.
Jörn Bonse
added an update
The BioCombs4Nanofibers project was presented by ELMARCO at the Geneva Index exhibition (the world´s leading nonwovens event, 19-22 October 2021).
 
Jörn Bonse
added an update
ELMARCO prepared a public video “thinkBIGgoNANO” about their nanofiber technology that is available at the BioCombs4Nanofibers and the ELMARCO websites and on Youtube:
 
Jörn Bonse
added an update
Dinescu Maria gave an interview at the Romanian national TV station Digi24 that was broadcasted on December 5th 2021, where she spoke about the BioCombs4Nanofibers project. A link to the recorded TV show can be found at:
 
Jörn Bonse
added an update
In November 2021, an article featuring the BioCombs4Nanofibers project was published in the Market Watch magazine (ISSN 1582 - 7232).
 
Anna-Christin Joel
added an update
A new update about the physico-chemical properties of cribellate capture wool and its interaction with the calamistrum has been published on our website:
 
Jörn Bonse
added a project reference
Jörn Bonse
added an update
"Ten Open Questions about Laser-Induced Periodic Surface Structures"
J. Bonse, S. Gräf
Nanomaterials 11 (2021), 3326
ABSTRACT: Laser-induced periodic surface structures (LIPSS) are a simple and robust route for the nanostructuring of solids that can create various surface functionalities featuring applications in optics, medicine, tribology, energy technologies, etc. While the current laser technologies already allow surface processing rates at the level of m2/min, industrial applications of LIPSS are sometimes hampered by the complex interplay between the nanoscale surface topography and the specific surface chemistry, as well as by limitations in controlling the processing of LIPSS and in the long-term stability of the created surface functions. This Perspective article aims to identify some open questions about LIPSS, discusses the pending technological limitations, and sketches the current state of theoretical modelling. Hereby, we intend to stimulate further research and developments in the field of LIPSS for overcoming these limitations and for supporting the transfer of the LIPSS technology into industry.
The article is part of the Special Issue "Dynamics and Processes at Laser-Irradiated Surfaces—A Themed Issue in Honor of the 70th Birthday of Professor Jürgen Reif".
 
Jörn Bonse
added an update
The article "Spatial Period of Laser-Induced Surface Nanoripples on PET Determines Escherichia coli Repellence" was selected by the the international Editors of the journal Nanomaterials as "Editor's Choice" article:
["Editor’s Choice articles are based on recommendations by the scientific editors of MDPI journals from around the world. Editors select a small number of articles recently published in the journal that they believe will be particularly interesting to authors, or important in this field. The aim is to provide a snapshot of some of the most exciting work published in the various research areas of the journal.", MDPI]
 
Marco Meyer
added a research item
Due to their uniquely high surface-to-volume ratio, nanofibers are a desired material for various technical applications. However, this surface-to-volume ratio also makes processing difficult as van der Waals forces cause nanofibers to adhere to virtually any surface. The cribellate spider Uloborus plumipes represents a biomimetic paragon for this problem: these spiders integrate thousands of nanofibers into their adhesive capture threads. A comb on their hindmost legs, termed calamistrum, enables the spiders to process the nanofibers without adhering to them. This anti-adhesion is due to a rippled nanotopography on the calamistrum. Via laser-induced periodic surface structures (LIPSS), these nanostructures can be recreated on artificial surfaces, mimicking the non-stickiness of the calamistrum. In order to advance the technical implementation of these biomimetic structured foils, we investigated how climatic conditions influence the anti-adhesive performance of our surfaces. Although anti-adhesion worked well at low and high humidity, technical implementations should nevertheless be air-conditioned to regulate temperature: we observed no pronounced anti-adhesive effect at temperatures above 30 • C. This alteration between anti-adhesion and adhesion could be deployed as a temperature-sensitive switch, allowing to swap between sticking and not sticking to nanofibers. This would make handling even easier.
Jörn Bonse
added an update
New publication reports the impact of the sub-micrometric LIPSS periods on the biofilm formation of laser-processed PET and reveals the particular role of bacterial pili!
For more information:
"Spatial Period of Laser-Induced Surface Nanoripples on PET Determines Escherichia coli Repellence"
Anja Richter, Gerda Buchberger, David Stifter, Jiri Duchoslav, Andreas Hertwig, Jörn Bonse, Johannes Heitz, and Karin Schwibbert
Nanomaterials 11 (2021), 3000
DOI: 10.3390/nano11113000
ABSTRACT: Bacterial adhesion and biofilm formation on surfaces are associated with persistent microbial contamination, biofouling, and the emergence of resistance, thus, calling for new strategies to impede bacterial surface colonization. Using ns-UV laser treatment (wavelength 248 nm and a pulse duration of 20 ns), laser-induced periodic surface structures (LIPSS) featuring different sub-micrometric periods ranging from ~210 to ~610 nm were processed on commercial poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) foils. Bacterial adhesion tests revealed that these nanorippled surfaces exhibit a repellence for E. coli that decisively depends on the spatial periods of the LIPSS with the strongest reduction (~91%) in cell adhesion observed for LIPSS periods of 214 nm. Although chemical and structural analyses indicated a moderate laser-induced surface oxidation, a significant influence on the bacterial adhesion was ruled out. Scanning electron microscopy and additional biofilm studies using a pili-deficient E. coli TG1 strain revealed the role of extracellular appendages in the bacterial repellence observed here.
 
Anja Richter
added a research item
Bacterial adhesion and biofilm formation on surfaces are associated with persistent microbial contamination, biofouling, and the emergence of resistance, thus, calling for new strategies to impede bacterial surface colonization. Using ns-UV laser treatment (wavelength 248 nm and a pulse duration of 20 ns), laser-induced periodic surface structures (LIPSS) featuring different sub-micrometric periods ranging from ~210 to ~610 nm were processed on commercial poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) foils. Bacterial adhesion tests revealed that these nanorippled surfaces exhibit a repellence for E. coli that decisively depends on the spatial periods of the LIPSS with the strongest reduction (~91%) in cell adhesion observed for LIPSS periods of 214 nm. Although chemical and structural analyses indicated a moderate laser-induced surface oxidation, a significant influence on the bacterial adhesion was ruled out. Scanning electron microscopy and additional biofilm studies using a pili-deficient E. coli TG1 strain revealed the role of extracellular appendages in the bacterial repellence observed here.
Jörn Bonse
added an update
The 2nd - year Plenary Meeting of the BioCombs4Nanofibers-project was organized and held at the National Insitute for Lasers, Plasma, and Radiation Physics (INFLPR) on September 27th & 28th, 2021 in Magurele, Romania.
 
Matthias Geiger
added a research item
A deep dive into the methods used for the production of our in-chip direct laser written nozzles (see https://doi.org/10.1002/adhm.202100898). Placement and alignment of structures to existing features for printing with the Nanoscribe was automated to speed up the in-chip DLW process.
Anna-Christin Joel
added an update
I was able to present cribellate spiders and our work as a keynote at the 32nd European Congress of Arachnology
 
Marek Mezera
added a research item
Laser setups Using UV-laser sources, multi-scaled μm/nm-structured polycarbonate polymer surfaces were produced. The developed strategy includes the utilization of Direct Laser Interference Patterning (DLIP) to create gratings and pillar-like geometries on the μm-scale as well as Laser-induced Periodic Surface Structures (LIPSS) with features sizes of a few nm. An important parameter controlling the morphology of the periodic features was the direction of the laser beam polarization with respect to the DLIP treated surfaces. Fig.1 SEM micrpgraphs of (a) ridge-like DLIP structure with a period of 10μm. (b-g) Evolution of surface morphologies on top of the DLIP structure with increasing peak fluence levels and a laser polarization ⟂ perpendicular to the DLIP ridges. a) Fig.4 FDTD simulation of intensity distribution of a 6.7 ps laser pulse with λ=343 nm with a polarization (a) perpendicular and (b) parallel to the orientation of DLIP-ridges with a period of 1.5 μm. The arrows in the upper right corners indicate the direction of the laser polarization. Fig.3 ATR-FTIR spectra of unprocessed samples (black curves) and samples processed homogeneously with LIPSS (type LSFL-II, red curves in (a-c), ridge-like (blue curves) or pillar-like (red curves) DLIP structures with 1.5 μm period (d-f) and ridge-like (blue curves) or pillar-like (red curves) DLIP structures with 10 μm period (g-i).
Margret Weißbach
added a research item
Besides the well-known dragline silk, spiders produce many other types of silk with different chemical and mechanical properties. By interweaving a combination of these silks, even complex structures such as webs, attachment discs or capture threads can be built. The capture threads of cribellate spiders, e.g., consist of a complex multi-fibre system with thousands of individual fibres and up to seven different silk types - including nanofibres. The silk types involved thus form a fibre composite, in which each fibre is most likely assigned a specific mechanical task. For analysing the properties of the individual silk types, they would ideally have to be separated from their interconnected system. However, this is either not possible at all, or only by introducing mechanical stress, which would significantly influence their material properties. We present here a structural analysis of the threads of three different cribellate spiders (Badumna longinqua, Deinopis subrufa, Uloborus plumipes) by using different preparation and imaging techniques. In previous studies, the assignment of different fibre types was primarily based on varying diameters only. However, differences in light refraction effects, fluorescence and stainability revealed that fibres from different species - previously assigned to the same silk type - must actually feature different material components. Considering the individual function of the fibres within a cribellate capture thread, this could also have an impact on the mechanical properties and imply that there are more functional types of fibre than previously recognised.
Margret Weißbach
added an update
A talk "Underestimated complexity of cribellate capture threads: stainability indicates variations in protein composition of silk fibres within a thread and between species“, by M. Weissbach, E. Sistemich, A.-C. Joel, was presented by Margret Weissbach during the 32nd European Congress of Arachnology (ECA 2021, Greifswald, Germany; organised by the European Society of Arachnology (ESA)) on August 26th, 2021 as a virtual presentation. The presentation was awarded third place among the best presentations.
 
Jörn Bonse
added an update
An invited talk "Laser-induced micro- and nano-structures for biomedical applications“, was presented by Johannes Heitz (JKU) during the 28th International Conference on Advanced Laser Technologies (ALT’21, Moscow, Russia) on September 7th, 2021 as remote presentation.
 
Anja Richter
added a project reference
Anja Richter
added a research item
Using nanofiber-like cell appendages, secreted proteins and sugars, bacteria can establish initial surface contact followed by irreversible adhesion and the formation of multicellular biofilms, often with enhanced resistance towards antimicrobial treatment and established cleaning procedures. On e.g. medical implants, in water supply networks or food-processing industry, biofilms can be a fertile source of bacterial pathogens and are repeatedly associated with persisting, nosocomial and foodborne infections. Nowadays, the emergence of resistances because of extensive usage of antibiotics and biocides in medicine, agriculture and private households have become one of the most important medical challenges with considerable economic consequences. In addition, aggravated biofilm eradication and prolonged cell-surface interaction can lead to increased biodeterioration and undesired modification of industrial and medical surface materials. Various strategies are currently developed, tested, and improved to realize anti-bacterial surface properties through surface functionalization steps avoiding antibiotics. In this study, contact-less and aseptic large-area short or ultrashort laser processing is employed to generate different surface structures in the nanometer- to micrometer-scale on technical materials such as titanium-alloy and polyethylene terephthalate (PET). The laser processed surfaces were subjected to bacterial colonization studies with Escherichia coli test strains and analyzed with reflected-light and epi-fluorescence microscopy. Depending on the investigated surfaces, different bacterial adhesion patterns were found, ranging from bacterial-repellent to bacterial-attractant effects. The results suggest an influence of size, shape and cell appendages of the bacteria and – above all – the laser-processed nanostructure of the surface itself, emphasizing the potential of laser-processing as a versatile tool to control bacterial surface adhesion.
Jörn Bonse
added an update
An invited talk "Laser-induced periodic surface structures: when electromagnetics drives hydrodynamics, by J. Bonse, M. Mezera, C. Florian, J. Krüger, and S. Gräf was presented by Jörn Bonse during the 28th International Conference on Advanced Laser Technologies (ALT’21, Moscow, Russia) on September 7th, 2021 as remote presentation.
 
Anna-Christin Joel
added an update
Interested in the animals we study? On our project homepage, we up-loaded a short overview highlighting four species.
See: https://www.jku.at/en/biocombs4nanofibers/dissemination/ ("Collection of calamistrum images")
 
Matthias Geiger
added a research item
For successful material deployment in tissue engineering, the material itself, its mechanical properties, and the microscopic geometry of the product are of particular interest. While silk is a widely applied protein‐based tissue engineering material with strong mechanical properties, the size and shape of artificially spun silk fibers are limited by existing processes. This study adjusts a microfluidic spinneret to manufacture micron‐sized wet‐spun fibers with three different materials enabling diverse geometries for tissue engineering applications. The spinneret is direct laser written (DLW) inside a microfluidic polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) chip using two‐photon lithography, applying a novel surface treatment that enables a tight print‐channel sealing. Alginate, polyacrylonitrile, and silk fibers with diameters down to 1 µm are spun, while the spinneret geometry controls the shape of the silk fiber, and the spinning process tailors the mechanical property. Cell‐cultivation experiments affirm bio‐compatibility and showcase an interplay between the cell‐sized fibers and cells. The presented spinning process pushes the boundaries of fiber fabrication toward smaller diameters and more complex shapes with increased surface‐to‐volume ratio and will substantially contribute to future tailored tissue engineering materials for healthcare applications. A 3D‐printed microfluidic wet‐spinning platform is developed to fabricate silk fibers with diameters down to 1 µm as tissue for cell culture. The fibers shape is tailored by the nozzle‐geometry and the mechanical fiber properties are controlled by the spinning process parameters.
Werner Baumgartner
added 2 research items
Background: During the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic face masks grew in importance as their use by the general population was recommended by health officials in order to minimize the risk of infection and prevent further spread of the virus. To ensure health protection of medical personal and other system relevant staff, it is of considerable interest to quickly test if a certain lot of filtering facepiece masks meets the requirements or if the penetration changes under different conditions. As certified penetrometers are rather expensive and were difficult to obtain during the COVID-19 pandemic, we describe two quite simple and cheap methods to quickly test the filter penetration based on an electronic cigarette. Methods: The first method uses a precision scale, the second method uses a light scattering detector to measure the filter penetration. To make sure these two methods yield reliable results, both were tested with freshly cut filter samples covering the range of approx. 2 % to 60 % filter penetration and compared to the results of a certified penetrometer. Results: The comparison of the two methods with the certified penetrometer showed a good correlation and therefore allow a quick and rather reliable estimation of the penetration. Conclusions: Several examples about the use of faulty masks and the resulting health risks show that simple, fast, cheap and broadly available methods for filter characterization might be useful in these days.
Jörn Bonse
added an update
BioCombs4Nanofibers uses the Open Acccess data repository ZENODO for public project information:
 
Jörn Bonse
added an update
Anja Richter has been awarded one of the three poster awards of the symposium H „Laser material processing: from fundamental interactions to innovative applications“ of the E-MRS Spring Meeting 2021 for her poster presentation entitled „Bacterial adhesion on ultrashort laser processed surfaces“ (June 1st 2021).
 
Marek Mezera
added a research item
Inter-pulse accumulation of heat could affect the chemical and morphological properties of the laser processed material surface. Hence, the laser pulse repetition rate may restrict the processing parameters for specific laser-induced surface structures. In this study, the evolution of various types of laser-induced micro- and nanostructures at various laser fluence levels, effective number of pulses and at different pulse repetition rates (1 – 400 kHz) are studied for common metals/alloys (e.g. steel or titanium alloy) irradiated by near-infrared ultrashort laser pulses (925 fs, 1030 nm) in air environment. The processed surfaces were characterized by optical and scanning electron microscopy (OM, SEM), energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX) as well as time of flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (TOF-SIMS). The results show that not only the surface morphology could change at different laser pulse repetition rates and comparable laser fluence levels and effective number of pulses, but also the surface chemistry is altered. Consequences for medical applications are outlined.
Anja Richter
added a research item
Bacterial biofilms are multicellular communities adhering to surfaces and embedded in a self-produced extracellular matrix. Due to physiological adaptations and the protective biofilm matrix itself, biofilm cells show enhanced resistance towards antimicrobial treatment. In medical and industrial settings, biofilms on e.g. for implants or for surfaces in food-processing industry can be a fertile source of bacterial pathogens and are repeatedly associated with persisting, nosocomial and foodborne infections. As extensive usage of antibiotics and biocides can lead to the emergence of resistances, various strategies are currently developed, tested and improved to realize anti-bacterial surface properties through surface functionalization steps avoiding antibiotics. In this study, contact-less and aseptic large-area ultrashort laser scan processing is employed to generate different surface structures in the nanometer- to micrometer-scale on technical materials, i.e. titanium-alloy, steel, and polymer. The processed surfaces were characterized by optical and scanning electron microscopy and subjected to bacterial colonization studies with Escherichia coli test strains. For each material, biofilm results of the fs-laser treated surfaces are compared to that obtained on polished (non-irradiated) surfaces as a reference. Depending on the investigated surfaces, different bacterial adhesion patterns were found, suggesting an influence of geometrical size, shape and cell appendages of the bacteria and – above all – the laser-processed nanostructure of the surface itself.
Dinescu Maria
added an update
We have published an article with the title
"Laser Direct Writing via Two-Photon Polymerization of 3D Hierarchical Structures with Cells-Antiadhesive Properties"
I.A. Paun, B.S. Calin, C.C. Mustaciosu, E. Tanasa, A. Moldovan, A. Niemczyk, M. Dinescu
Abstract
We report the design and fabrication by laser direct writing via two photons polymerization of innovative hierarchical structures with cell-repellency capability. The structures were designed in the shape of “mushrooms”, consisting of an underside (mushroom’s leg) acting as a support structure and a top side (mushroom’s hat) decorated with micro- and nanostructures. A ripple-like pattern was created on top of the mushrooms, over length scales ranging from several µm (microstructured mushroom-like pillars, MMP) to tens of nm (nanostructured mushroom-like pillars, NMP). The MMP and NMP structures were hydrophobic, with contact angles of (127 ± 2)° and (128 ± 4)°, respectively, whereas flat polymer surfaces were hydrophilic, with a contact angle of (43 ± 1)°. The cell attachment on NMP structures was reduced by 55% as compared to the controls, whereas for the MMP, a reduction of only 21% was observed. Moreover, the MMP structures preserved the native spindle-like with phyllopodia cellular shape, whereas the cells from NMP structures showed a round shape and absence of phyllopodia. Overall, the NMP structures were more effective in impeding the cellular attachment and affected the cell shape to a greater extent than the MMP structures. The influence of the wettability on cell adhesion and shape was less important, the cellular behavior being mainly governed by structures’ topography.
 
Werner Baumgartner
added a research item
Some true bug species use droplet-shaped, open-capillary structures for passive, unidirectional fluid transport on their body surface in order to spread a defensive fluid to protect themselves against enemies. In this paper we investigated if the shape of the structures found on bugs (bug-structure) could be optimised with regard to better performance in unidirectional fluid transportation. Furthermore, to use this kind of surface structure in technical applications where fluid surface interaction occurs, it is necessary to adapt the structure geometry to the contact angle between fluid and surface. Based on the principal of operation of the droplet-shaped structures, we optimised the structure shape for better performance in targeted fluid flow and increase in flexibility in design of the structure geometry. To adapt the structure geometry and the structure spacing to the contact angle, we implemented an equilibrium simulation of the, the structure surrounding , fluid. In order to verify the functionality of the optimised structure, we designed and manufactured a prototype. By testing this prototype with pure water used as fluid, the functionality of the optimised structure and the simulation could be proved. This kind of structure may be used on technical surfaces where targeted fluid transport is needed, e.g. evacuation of condensate in order to prevent the surface from mold growth, microfluidics, lab-on-a-chip applications and on microneedles for efficient drug/vaccine coating.
Jörn Bonse
added an update
Our project partners from JKU, ELMARCO and the Kepler University Hospital Linz published an article describing the development of a simple and cheap aerosol penetrometer that is using an electronic cigarette for testing respiratory filters of pandemic face masks.
"A simple and cheap aerosol penetrometer for filter testing using an electronic cigarette"
Sebastian Lifka, Ivan Ponomarev, Agnes Weth, David Baumgartner, Bernd Lamprecht, and Werner Baumgartner
Abstract:
Background: During the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic face masks grew in importance as their use by the general population was recommended by health officials in order to minimize the risk of infection and prevent further spread of the virus. To ensure health protection of medical personal and other system relevant staff, it is of considerable interest to quickly test if a certain lot of filtering facepiece masks meets the requirements or if the permeability changes under different conditions. As certified penetrometers are rather expensive and were difficult to obtain during the COVID-19 pandemic, we describe two quite simple and cheap methods to quickly test the filter permeability based on an electronic cigarette.
Methods: The first method uses a precision scale, the second method uses a light scattering detector to measure the filter penetration. To make sure these two methods yield reliable results, both were tested with freshly cut filter samples covering the range of approx. 2% to 60% permeability and compared to the results of a certified penetrometer.
Results: The comparison of the two methods with the certified penetrometer showed a good correlation and therefore allow a quick and rather reliable estimation of the permeability.
Conclusions: Several examples about the use of faulty masks and the resulting health risks show that simple, fast, cheap and broadly available methods for filter characterization might be useful in these days.
The article was recently published in the new EU's Open Access publication platform "Open Research Europe" and can be accessed via
DOI: 10.12688/openreseurope.13087.1
 
George D Tsibidis
added a research item
Direct laser interference patterning (DLIP) with ultrashort laser pulses (ULPs) represents a precise and fast technique to produce tailored periodic submicrometer structures on various materials. In this work, an experimental and theoretical approach is presented to investigate the fundamental mechanisms for the formation of unprecedented laser-induced topographies on stainless steel following proper combinations of DLIP with ULPs. The combined spatial and temporal shaping of the pulse increases the level of control over the structure while it brings insights into the structure formation process. The aim of DLIP is to determine the initial conditions of the laser-matter interaction by defining an ablated region while double ULPs are used to control the reorganization of the self-assembled laser-induced submicrometer sized structures by exploiting the interplay of different absorption and excitation levels coupled with the melt hydrodynamics induced by the first of the double pulses. A multiscale physical model is presented to correlate the interference period, polarization orientation, and number of incident pulses with the induced morphologies. Special emphasis is given to electron excitation, relaxation processes, and hydrodynamical effects that are crucial to the production of complex morphologies. Results are expected to derive knowledge of laser-matter interaction in combined DLIP and ULP conditions and enable enhanced fabrication capabilities of complex hierarchical submicrometer sized structures for a variety of applications.
Margret Weißbach
added a research item
Spider silk attracts researchers from the most diverse fields, such as material science or medicine. However, still little is known about silk aside from its molecular structure and material strength. Spiders produce many different silks and even join several silk types to one functional unit. In cribellate spiders, a complex multi-fibre system with up to six different silks affects the adherence to the prey. The assembly of these cribellate capture threads influences the mechanical properties as each fibre type absorbs forces specifically. For the interplay of fibres, spinnerets have to move spatially and come into contact with each other at specific points in time. However, spinneret kinematics are not well described though highly sophisticated movements are performed which are in no way inferior to the movements of other flexible appendages. We describe here the kinematics for the spinnerets involved in the cribellate spinning process of the grey house spider, Badumna longinqua , as an example of spinneret kinematics in general. With this information, we set a basis for understanding spinneret kinematics in other spinning processes of spiders and additionally provide inspiration for biomimetic multiple fibre spinning.
Jörn Bonse
added an update
The BioCombs4Nanofibers project was mentioned in an interview-type article “LIPSS – from side effect to ‘killer application’” by the Technologies for Factories of the Future H2020 project Laser4Surf:
 
George D Tsibidis
added a research item
Predictive modelling represents an emerging field that combines existing and novel methodologies aimed to rapidly understand physical mechanisms and concurrently develop new materials, processes and structures. In the current study, previously-unexplored predictive modelling in a key-enabled technology, the laser-based manufacturing, aims to automate and forecast the effect of laser processing on material structures. The focus is centred on the performance of representative statistical and machine learning algorithms in predicting the outcome of laser processing on a range of materials. Results on experimental data showed that predictive models were able to satisfactorily learn the mapping between the laser input variables and the observed material structure. These results are further integrated with simulation data aiming to elucidate the multiscale physical processes upon laser-material interaction. As a consequence, we augmented the adjusted simulated data to the experimental and substantially improved the predictive performance, due to the availability of increased number of sampling points. In parallel, a metric to identify and quantify the regions with high predictive uncertainty, is presented, revealing that high uncertainty occurs around the transition boundaries. Our results can set the basis for a systematic methodology towards reducing material design, testing and production cost via the replacement of expensive trial-and-error based manufacturing procedure with a precise pre-fabrication predictive tool.
Jörn Bonse
added an update
Marek Mezera from the BioCombs4Nanofibers team at BAM has been awarded the PhD degree of the University of Twente (The Netherlands) on October 16th 2020 for his previous work performed within the Laser4Fun European project (https://www.laser4fun.eu/).
 
Jörn Bonse
added an update
BioCombs4Nanofibers welcomes submissions to the Special Issue "Advances in Laser-Based Techniques: from Fundamental Aspects to Applications" in Nanomaterials (MDPI).
Submission deadline: June 30th 2021
 
Jörn Bonse
added a research item
Nanotechnology and lasers are among the most successful and active fields of research and technology that have boomed during the past two decades. Many improvements are based on the controlled manufacturing of nanostructures that enable tailored material functionalization for a wide range of industrial applications, electronics, medicine, etc., and have already found entry into our daily life. One appealing approach for manufacturing such nanostructures in a flexible, robust, rapid, and contactless one-step process is based on the generation of laser-induced periodic surface structures (LIPSS). This Perspectives article analyzes the footprint of the research area of LIPSS on the basis of a detailed literature search, provides a brief overview on its current trends, describes the European funding strategies within the Horizon 2020 programme, and outlines promising future directions.
Matthias Geiger
added an update
In this project, we utilize multiple techniques for the production of artificial fibers. If you're interested in electrospinning, from lab- to industrial scale, and microfluidic spinning, our "Report on Lab-scale Fiber Production" will give you a great introduction.
I'm really looking forward to see our fibers on nanostructured surfaces and compare them to spider silk!
You can find our reports on our homepage: https://www.jku.at/en/biocombs4nanofibers/dissemination/
 
Jörn Bonse
added an update
"Quo vadis LIPSS? - Recent and Future Trends on Laser-induced Periodic Surface Structures"
J. Bonse
Nanomaterials 10 (2020), 1950
ABSTRACT: Nanotechnology and lasers are among the most successful and active fields of research and technology that have boomed during the past two decades. Many improvements are based on the controlled manufacturing of nanostructures that enable tailored material functionalization for a wide range of industrial applications, electronics, medicine, etc., and have already found entry into our daily life. One appealing approach for manufacturing such nanostructures in a flexible, robust, rapid, and contactless one-step process is based on the generation of laser-induced periodic surface structures (LIPSS). This Perspective article analyzes the footprint of the research area of LIPSS on the basis of a detailed literature search, provides a brief overview on its current trends, describes the European funding strategies within the Horizon 2020 programme, and outlines promising future directions.
The article is part of the Special Issue "Laser Synthesis and Modification of Materials at the Nanoscale".
 
Marco Meyer
added an update
Discover why cribellate spiders do not stick to their silk and why this is useful for artificial fibers. In the latest open accessible PDFs, we explain how the adhesion of the threads is measured and how we eliminate this adhesion in the production of artificial fibers. You can download this and more reports on our homepage: https://www.jku.at/en/biocombs4nanofibers/dissemination/
 
Marek Mezera
added a research item
Biofilm formation in industrial or medical settings is usually unwanted and leads to serious health problems and high costs. Inhibition of initial bacterial adhesion prevents biofilm formation and is, therefore, a major mechanism of antimicrobial action of surfaces. Surface topography largely influences the interaction between bacteria and surfaces which makes topography an ideal base for antifouling strategies and eco-friendly alternatives to chemical surface modifications. Femtosecond laser-processing was used to fabricate sub-micrometric surface structures on silicon and stainless steel for the development of antifouling topographies on technical materials.
Jörn Bonse
added an update
BioCombs4Nanofibers welcomes submissions to the Special Issue "Nanopatterning of Bionic Materials" in Nanomaterials (MDPI).
Submission deadline: September 30th 2021
 
Jörn Bonse
added an update
BioCombs4Nanofibers welcomes submissions to the Special Issue "Laser-Generated Periodic Nanostructures" in Nanomaterials (MDPI).
Submission deadline: December 28th 2020
 
Marek Mezera
added an update
BioCombs4Nanofibers supports the Future Tech Week 2020, an initiative of the European Innovation Council Pathfinder,
with a virtual poster presentation entitled “Bacterial adhesion on femtosecond laser-induced periodic surface structures”
by Marek Mezera, Anja Richter, Jörg Krüger, Jörn Bonse, and Karin Schwibbert.
 
Jörn Bonse
added an update
Jörn Bonse
added a research item
The exciting properties of micro- and nano-patterned surfaces found in natural species hide a virtually endless potential of technological ideas, opening new opportunities for innovation and exploitation in materials science and engineering. Due to the diversity of biomimetic surface functionalities, inspirations from natural surfaces are interesting for a broad range of applications in engineering, including phenomena of adhesion, friction, wear, lubrication, wetting phenomena, self-cleaning, antifouling, antibacterial phenomena, thermoregulation and optics. Lasers are increasingly proving to be promising tools for the precise and controlled structuring of materials at micro- and nano-scales. When ultrashort-pulsed lasers are used, the optimal interplay between laser and material parameters enables structuring down to the nanometer scale. Besides this, a unique aspect of laser processing technology is the possibility for material modifications at multiple (hierarchical) length scales, leading to the complex biomimetic micro- and nano-scale patterns, while adding a new dimension to structure optimization. This article reviews the current state of the art of laser processing methodologies, which are being used for the fabrication of bioinspired artificial surfaces to realize extraordinary wetting, optical, mechanical, and biological-active properties for numerous applications. The innovative aspect of laser functionalized biomimetic surfaces for a wide variety of current and future applications is particularly demonstrated and discussed. The article concludes with illustrating the wealth of arising possibilities and the number of new laser micro/nano fabrication approaches for obtaining complex high-resolution features, which prescribe a future where control of structures and subsequent functionalities are beyond our current imagination.
Jörn Bonse
added an update
"Laser engineering of biomimetic surfaces"
E. Stratakis, J. Bonse, J. Heitz, J.Siegel, G. D. Tsibidis, E. Skoulas, A. Papadopoulos, A. Mimidis, A.-C. Joel, P. Comanns, J. Krüger, C. Florian, Y. Fuentes-Edfuf, J. Solis, W. Baumgartner,
Materials Science & Engineering: R (Reports) 141, 100562 (2020).
DOI: 10.1016/j.mser.2020.100562
Deleted publication
ABSTRACT: The exciting properties of micro- and nano-patterned surfaces found in natural species hide a virtually endless potential of technological ideas, opening new opportunities for innovation and exploitation in materials science and engineering. Due to the diversity of biomimetic surface functionalities, inspirations from natural surfaces are interesting for a broad range of applications in engineering, including phenomena of adhesion, friction, wear, lubrication, wetting phenomena, self-cleaning, antifouling, antibacterial phenomena, thermoregulation and optics. Lasers are increasingly proving to be promising tools for the precise and controlled structuring of materials at micro- and nano-scales. When ultrashort-pulsed lasers are used, the optimal interplay between laser and material parameters enables structuring down to the nanometer scale. Besides this, a unique aspect of laser processing technology is the possibility for material modifications at multiple (hierarchical) length scales, leading to the complex biomimetic micro- and nano-scale patterns, while adding a new dimension to structure optimization. This article reviews the current state of the art of laser processing methodologies, which are being used for the fabrication of bioinspired artificial surfaces to realize extraordinary wetting, optical, mechanical, and biological-active properties for numerous applications. The innovative aspect of laser functionalized biomimetic surfaces for a wide variety of current and future applications is particularly demonstrated and discussed. The article concludes with illustrating the wealth of arising possibilities and the number of new laser micro/nano fabrication approaches for obtaining complex high-resolution features, which prescribe a future where control of structures and subsequent functionalities are beyond our current imagination.
 
Marek Mezera
added an update
The latest article is the outcome of a joint collaboration between two European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programms: the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 675063 (Laser4Fun project, www.laser4fun.eu) and the FET Open grant agreement No. 862016 BioCombs4Nanofibers, www.jku.at/biocombs4nanofibers).
Check them out!
 
Jörn Bonse
added a research item
Hierarchical micro/-nanostructures were produced on polycarbonate polymer surfaces by employing a two-step UV-laser processing strategy based on the combination of Direct Laser Interference Patterning (DLIP) of gratings and pillars on the microscale (3 ns, 266 nm, 2 kHz) and subsequently superimposing Laser-induced Periodic Surface Structures (LIPSS; 7-10 ps, 350 nm, 100 kHz) which adds nanoscale surface features. Particular emphasis was laid on the influence of the direction of the laser beam polarization on the morphology of resulting hierarchical surfaces. Scanning electron and atomic force microscopy methods were used for the characterization of the hybrid surface structures. Finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) calculations of the laser intensity distribution on the DLIP structures allowed to address the specific polarization dependence of the LIPSS formation observed in the second processing step. Complementary chemical analyzes by micro-Raman spectroscopy and attenuated total reflection Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy provided in-depth information on the chemical and structural material modifications and material degradation imposed by the laser processing. It was found that when the linear laser polarization was set perpendicular to the DLIP ridges, LIPSS could be formed on top of various DLIP structures. FDTD calculations showed enhanced optical intensity at the topographic maxima, which can explain the dependency of the morphology of LIPSS on the polarization with respect to the orientation of the DLIP structures. It was also found that the degradation of the polymer was enhanced for increasing accumulated fluence levels.
Jörn Bonse
added an update
Jörn Bonse
added an update
The BioCombs4Nanofibers project supports the EC campaign promoting the need for fair and equal access to diagnostics, treatments and vaccines against the COVID-19:
 
Anna-Christin Joel
added an update
And indeed I am very happy that my job is this cool :-)
 
Anna-Christin Joel
added an update
ACS chose our latest publication for its headline science channel on youtube:
 
Anna-Christin Joel
added an update
Our publication about the antiadhesive calamistrum was highlighted in the news!
 
Anna-Christin Joel
added a project reference
Anna-Christin Joel
added an update
Are you interested in the biological model, we are examining? We explain how spiders catch prey and what we can learn from it in an open accessible PDF document. You can download it from our homepage: https://www.jku.at/en/biocombs4nanofibers/dissemination/
 
Jörn Bonse
added an update
The project partner INFLPR has added information on the BioCombs4Nanofibers project on the webpage:
 
Jörn Bonse
added an update
Dr. Anna-Christin Joel from the BioCombs4Nanofibers team of RWTH Aachen was appointed as member of the Junges Kolleg of the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences, Humanities and the Arts, Germany.
Only 30 outstanding young scholars or scientists across all disciplines are appointed to be member of this college. The award ceremony took place on 14th January 2020 in Düsseldorf, Germany.
Dr. Joel received the prize acknowledging her research covering different zoological topics from functional morphology, ecology, evolution and protein chemistry to bionics and medical technology – all featuring as common element the nanofiber silk of cribellate spiders. This research is currently being embedded in the BioCombs4Nanofibers project.
More information about this honor at the webpage of the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences, Humanities and the Arts:
 
Jörn Bonse
added an update
The project partner FORTH has added information on the BioCombs4Nanofibers project on the webpage:
 
Jörn Bonse
added an update
The project partner RWTH has added information on the BioCombs4Nanofibers project on the webpage:
 
Jörn Bonse
added an update
BioCombs4Nanofibers has a project webpage that is available at
providing information on the key facts of the project, partners involved, news & events, and dissemination activities.
 
Jörn Bonse
added an update
The project partner BAM has added information on the BioCombs4Nanofibers project on the webpage:
 
Jörn Bonse
added an update
The project partner ELMARCO has added information on the BioCombs4Nanofibers project on the webpage:
 
Jörn Bonse
added an update
The following press media reported on the BioCombs4Nanofibers project:
Newspaper Salzburger Nachrichten, Oct. 7, 2019
Newspaper Kronenzeitung, Oct. 5, 2019
Newspaper Die Presse, Oct. 5, 2019
Austrian television webpage ORF, Oct. 4, 2019
Online magazin STUDIUM.AT, Oct. 4, 2019
 
Jörn Bonse
added an update
Austrian press agency reports on the BioCombs4Nanofibers project:
 
Jörn Bonse
added an update
Johannes Kepler Universität Linz announced the BioCombs4Nanofibers project via an article on their webpage:
English version:
German version:
 
Jörn Bonse
added an update
The Kick-off meeting of the BioCombs4Nanofibers-project was organized and held at the Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria, on October 4th, 2019.
 
Jörn Bonse
added a project goal
Challenge: Nanofibers are constantly drawing the attention of material scientists and engineers as their surface-to-used-material-ratio is beneficial for, e.g., medical applications. However, technical nanofiber processing, transportation or even simple things as spooling is inhibited by their attraction to any surface by van der Waals forces, the adhesive forces also enabling geckos to stick to the wall. Recent research aims for scale-up of the controllable production of nanofibers though have not enabled an easier handling and thus their application is still limited. A specific kind of nanofibers are nanofibrous protrusions of adherent cells and microorganisms. The interaction of these fibers with nanostructures is a key feature for their controlled adhesion at natural or artificial surfaces.
Inspiration by nature: One major problem for handling of nanofibers is their stickiness to almost any surface due to van der Waals forces. However, there is a biological example to show how to tackle this problem in the future: cribellate spiders bear a specialized comb, the calamistrum, to handle and process nanofibers, which are assembled to their structural complex capture threads. These 10 – 30 nm thick fibers do not stick to the calamistrum due to a special fingerprint-like nanostructure. This structure causes the nanofibers to not smoothly adapt to the surface of the calamistrum, but rather minimizes contact and thus reduce the adhesive forces between the nanofibers and the calamistrum.
Radically new technological approach: BioCombs4Nanofibers aims to transfer these bionic comb structures to technical surfaces featuring antiadhesive properties that will enable future tools for nanofiber handling. Similar nanostructures can hinder the adhesion of nanofibrous protrusions of cells or microorganisms, which may enable cell-repellent or antiseptic areas on medical devices and implants.
BioCombs4NanoFibers is a Research and Innovation Action funded by the European Community’s Horizon 2020 - FET Open Programme, which supports early-stage research on any idea for a new technology (Grant Agreement no: 862016, Call FETOPEN-01-2018-2019-2020 - FET-Open Challenging Current Thinking). It brings together 6 partners from 5 different countries. The project consortium is strongly interdisciplinary combining renowned academic and industrial experts from the fields of zoology, physics, mechatronics, life sciences, materials sciences, laser-matter interaction, nanofiber technology, and biomimetics. The joint project consortium forms an excellent base for fundamental and applied research in the field of bionic surfaces.