Slippery Liquid-Like Solid Surfaces with Promising Antibiofilm Performance in both Static and Flow Conditions

Yufeng Zhu, Glen McHale, Jack Dawson, Steven Armstrong, Gary Wells, Rui Han, Hongzhong Lui, Waldemar Vollmer, Paul Stoodley, Jakubovics Nicholas S., Chen Jinju*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Biofilms are central to some of the most urgent global challenges across diverse fields of application, from medicine to industry to the environment and exert considerable economic and social impact. A fundamental assumption in anti-biofilm has been that the coating on a substrate surface is solid. The invention of slippery liquid-infused porous surfaces (SLIPS) - a continuously wet lubricating coating retained on a solid surface by capillary forces - has led to this being challenged. However, in situations where flow occurs, shear stress may deplete the lubricant and affects the anti-biofilm performance. Here we report on the use of slippery omniphobic covalently attached liquid (SOCAL) surfaces, which provides a surface coating with short (ca. 4 nm) noncrosslinked PDMS chains retaining liquid-surface properties, as an antibiofilm strategy stable under shear stress from flow. This surface reduced biofilm formation of the key biofilm forming pathogens Staphylococcus epidermidis and Pseudomonas aeruginosa by 3-4 orders of magnitude compared to the widely used medical implant material polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) after 7 days in static and dynamic culture conditions. Throughout the entire dynamic culture period of P. aeruginosa, SOCAL significantly outperformed a typical antibiofilm slippery surface (i.e. swollen PDMS in silicone oil (S-PDMS)). We have revealed that significant oil loss occurred after 2-7 days flow for S-PDMS, which correlated to increased contact angle hysteresis (CAH), indicating a degradation of the slippery surface properties, and biofilm formation. While SOCAL has stable CAH and sustainable antibiofilm performance after 7 days flow. The significance of this correlation is to provide a useful easy-to-measure physical parameter as an indicator for long-term antibiofilm performance. This biofilm-resistant liquid-like solid surface offers a new antibiofilm strategy for applications in medical devices, and other areas where biofilm development is problematic.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6307-6319
JournalACS Applied Materials & Interfaces
Issue number5
Early online date31 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - 9 Feb 2022


  • Antibiofilm
  • Slippery polymer surfaces
  • Liquid-like surface
  • Biofilm detachment
  • Surface wetting


Dive into the research topics of 'Slippery Liquid-Like Solid Surfaces with Promising Antibiofilm Performance in both Static and Flow Conditions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this