NewSkin partner Nanofaber results on enhancing the antimicrobial, antifouling, and service-life of membranes for use in ultrafiltration and reverse osmosis for water treatment

NewSkin partner Nanofaber results on enhancing the antimicrobial, antifouling, and service-life of membranes for use in ultrafiltration and reverse osmosis for water treatment
Published on 18 Nov 14:25 (over 1 year ago) by AquaTT

NewSkin partner Nanofaber, in cooperation with ENEA, published results on their latest NewSkin OITB project work in Nanomaterials 2022, 12(22), 3962. The paper title is “Design and Manufacturing of Antibacterial Electrospun Polysulfone Membranes Functionalized by Ag Nanocoating via Magnetron Sputtering” by Noemi Fiaschini (NANOFABER S.r.l), Chiara Giuliani (SSPT-PROMAS-MATPRO, ENEA), Roberta Vitali (SSPT-TECS-TEB, ENEA), Loredana Tammaro (SSPT-PROMAS-NANO, ENEA), Daniele Valerini (SSPT-PROMAS-MATAS, ENEA), and Antonio Rinaldi (SSPT-PROMAS-MATPRO, ENEA).

In this work, the research team present their approach to rationale design and manufacturing of electrospun membranes of polysulfone (PSU) optimised via combinatorial factorial design tests and functionalized via an antimicrobial silver (Ag) nanocoating technology developed with ENEA. The results show the nanocoated membrane to have highly effective antimicrobial resistance to Gram-negative bacteria E. coli, applicable to improving antifouling behaviour and increasing the service life of these membranes in ultrafiltration and reverse osmosis water treatment. The amount of Ag used to create a percolating and conformal antibacterial network around the PSU microfibers is among the tiniest ever reported in literature. 

As part of the NewSkin facilities, the Nanofaber team bring their expertise in advanced manufacturing and coating making via Electrospinning. Nanofaber acts as a technology provider in the field of functional nano-coatings, developing electrospinning and coating methods for anti-fouling resistance and durability of membranes. In the NewSkin facilities, newly designed membranes can be furthered enhanced in collaboration with other NewSkin partners, e.g. using plasma by Leitat, and rigorously evaluated in a wide range of scenarios by Technion in their NewSkin test facility for membranes used in, e.g., desalination, water purification, water-energy nexus and clean energy. Other NewSkin partners, e.g. GVFiltri, are able to support in prototyping and testing standard or custom cartridge module based on innovative membrane technologies that are scalable.
Figure 1: Nanocoated electrospun membranes of PSU observed under the electron scanning microscope (SEM) at increasing magnifications, highlighting that the applied antibacterial nanocoating is made of an Ag conformal percolating network wrapped conformally around the PSU microfibers.
Thus, the EU-funded NewSkin Open Innovation Test Bed project is offering unique pilot scale prototyping, upscaling, and testing facilities as well as route to market services, and access to investors, to SMEs, Research labs and industry to accelerate the commercialisation of innovative nano-surface and membrane materials and technology across Europe.
Figure 2: The manufacturing of base PSU membranes at Nanofaber prior to subsequent post-rolling and coating.
You can apply for free access to this and other NewSkin Open Innovation Test Bed facilities through NewSkin OITB Open Call 3, with deadline on 31st Jan 2023, more details on the services available on

To apply, please contact the team on to make an initial enquiry, and/or to discuss the services for your potential application. You can sign up here to the NewSkin platform and complete the short online application form. Applicants can request an NDA before filling the open call application - please email to arrange this. 
The NewSkin services offered are expected to speed-up the launch of novel nanomaterials and membranes, and commercial or personal products using these advanced materials, to boost efficiency and to support industry, especially SMEs, in better and faster development of their products.