The use of antibacterial and antifouling materials is widely being investigated to combat the increasing risk associated with bacterial infections and the evolution of drug-resistant bacteria. Efficient antibacterial materials can be fabricated by mimicking the topography found on the surface of natural antibacterial materials. Natural materials such as the wings of cicadas and dragonflies have evolved to use the structural features on their surface to attain bactericidal properties. The nanopillars/nanospikes present on these natural materials physically damage the bacterial cells that settle on the nanostructures resulting in cell lysis and death. This article reviews the role of nanostructures found on the surface of some of these natural antibacterial and antifouling materials such as lotus leaf, cicadas and dragonflies wings, shark skin, and rose petals. These natural structures provide guidelines for the design of synthetic bio-inspired materials. This review article also presents some novel fabrication techniques used to produce biomimetic micro- and nano-structures on synthetic material surfaces. The role of size, shape, aspect ratio, and spacing between the micro/nano-structures on the bactericidal properties is also discussed. Finally, the review is finished with the author's view on the future of the field.
- hierarchical structures