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Journal of Nanomaterials
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 781212, 11 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/781212
Research Article

Bacterial Filtration Using Carbon Nanotube/Antibiotic Buckypaper Membranes

1Soft Materials Group, School of Chemistry, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW 2522, Australia
2Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW 2522, Australia
3Intelligent Polymer Research Institute, ARC Centre for Excellence for Electromaterials Science, AIIM Facility, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW 2522, Australia
4Institute of Materials Engineering, Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, Lucas Heights, NSW 2234, Australia

Received 7 November 2012; Revised 28 January 2013; Accepted 8 February 2013

Academic Editor: Yanbao Zhao

Copyright © 2013 Luke J. Sweetman et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The preparation of free-standing carbon nanotube “buckypaper” (BP) membranes consisting of either single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) or multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWNTs), and the antibiotic ciprofloxacin (cipro), is reported. The electrical, mechanical and morphological properties of these membranes have been characterised and are compared to those of the corresponding buckypaper membranes containing the surfactant Triton X-100 (Trix). Analysis of scanning electron microscopic images of the surfaces of SWNT/cipro and SWNT/Trix (Trix  =  Triton X-100) buckypapers revealed that the diameter of their surface pores was significantly smaller than that of the corresponding materials prepared using MWNTs. Similarly, the average internal pore diameter of both SWNT buckypapers was found to be smaller than that of their MWNT counterparts, after analysis of binding isotherms derived from nitrogen adsorption/desorption measurements performed on the materials. All four buckypaper membranes examined were found to be >99% effective for removing Escherichia coli (E. coli) from aqueous suspensions. However, buckypapers containing ciprofloxacin outperformed their counterparts containing the surfactant. Both MWNT buckypapers were more effective at preventing passage of E. coli than their analogues containing SWNTs, while fluorescence microscopic examination of stained membrane surfaces demonstrated that buckypapers composed of SWNTs had greater bactericidal properties.