Dynamic XPS measurements of ultrathin polyelectrolyte films containing antibacterial Ag–Cu nanoparticles
Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology A
American Vacuum Society
021510-1 - 021510-5
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Ultrathin films consisting of polyelectrolyte layers prepared by layer-by-layer deposition technique and containing also Ag and Cu nanoparticles exhibit superior antibacterial activity toward Escherichia coli. These films have been investigated with XPS measurements under square wave excitation at two different frequencies, in order to further our understanding about the chemical/physical nature of the nanoparticles. Dubbed as dynamical XPS, such measurements bring out similarities and differences among the surface structures by correlating the binding energy shifts of the corresponding XPS peaks. Accordingly, it is observed that the Cu2p, Ag3d of the metal nanoparticles, and S2p of cysteine, the stabilizer and the capping agent, exhibit similar shifts. On the other hand, the C1s, N1s, and S2p peaks of the polyelectrolyte layers shift differently. This finding leads us the claim that the Ag and Cu atoms are in a nanoalloy structure, capped with cystein, as opposed to phase separated entities.