Materials Chemistry

Prospects of ZnS and ZnO as smart semiconductor materials in light-activated antimicrobial coatings for mitigation of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 infection

Abstract

We carried out theoretical and experimental analyses of ZnO and ZnS nanoparticles as smart semiconductor materials in light-activated antimicrobial coating for application in masks. We used low-cost hydrothermally processable precursors to direct the growth of the coatings on a cotton fabric. Both ZnO and ZnS coatings had high reactivities as disinfection agents in photocatalysis reactions for the degradation of a methylene blue dye solution. Also, these coatings showed excellent UV protection properties. For understanding at the molecular level, the broad-spectrum biological activities of the ZnO and ZnS coatings against Fusarium Oxysporum fungi, Escherichia coli bacteria, and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) virus and their variants, were investigated computationally. Hexagonal Zn6O6 and Zn6S6 clusters were used as models for the simulations through excited- and ground-state calculations. The theoretical findings show that changes in the local chemical environment in these excited systems have a profound impact on their physical and chemical properties and thus, can provide a better understanding to engineer new functional materials in light-activated antimicrobial coatings for mitigation of SARS-CoV-2 infection.

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