Cristina Balagna is an assistant professor of Materials Science and Technology at Politecnico di Torino (Italy). After receiving her PhD in Materials Science and Technology in 2011, her research activity has been focused on antimicrobial materials, in particular on the development of antimicrobial/virucidal nanostructured composite coatings for aerospace, civil, filtration and biomedical applications. Her research field includes developing, characterization and testing of materials (films, coatings, bulks, metallic, glass and ceramic materials). She participated in the research activities of several National and European projects and industrial research contracts, with the most qualified international universities, research centers and companies. She is co-author of 27 peer-reviewed papers and of one international patent, relative to antiviral coating. Cristina Balagna is in charge of the course of Materials Science and Technology at Politecnico di Torino as Regular Professor since March 2021.
Title: Nanostructured antibacterial/virucidal composite coatings
Abstract: The recent respiratory illness coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has led the world in a global health and economic crisis with over 196 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and over 4.2 million deaths. Despite strict confinement measures and vaccines, the disease persists also through its variants. In this context and against any future health crises, nanostructured antibacterial/virucidal composite coatings were developed and patented. The thin coatings (less than 200 nm), composed of silver nanoclusters into glass/glass-ceramic matrix, were deposited by co-sputtering technique on different surfaces, including air filters and textiles, without affecting the main properties of the substrates, such as flexibility, porosity, permeability, and mechanical characteristics. Co-sputtering is industrially scalable, versatile, and green technology and coating composition can be adapted to application’s requirements. The nanoclusters are not dispersed into the surrounding environment or in human skin, instead they show a gradual release of metallic ions. Antibacterial/fungal tests confirmed silver effect to prevent adhesion and proliferation of several bacterial strains and fungi. The nanostructured coatings developed a significant virucidal activity against several viruses as respiratory syncytial virus, the influenza virus type A, human rotavirus type WA and human coronavirus (OC43), including SARS-COV-2, responsible of the current pandemic.