With the merits of both advantages of antibacterial and optical enhancing properties of metal nanoparticles, and high surface area and surface energy of nanofibers, metal containing nanofibers can be directly used as films, coatings, and fibers in electronics, sensors, multispectral filters, catalytic materials, water treatment, and nanopaints.
A variety of metal nanoparticle-containing polymer nanocomposites including Au, Pt, and Pd have been prepared in organic solvent with the presence of different polymers, such as polyvinylpropelene (PVP) and polyacrylic acid (PAA).
The mechanism of antibacterial function of metal nanoparticles is associated with the interaction between metal ions and the bacterial fungal cells and fungus. Structural changes are found in bacterial and fungal cells after the contact with metal nanoparticles. Comparing to regular silver particles, silver nanoparticles have favorable antibacterial and antifungal properties due to their extremely large surface area which allows better contact with microorganisms of bacteria and fungus. In addition, the silver nanoparticle not only attaches on cell membranes but also penetrates into the bacteria and fungus. After silver enters the cells, it binds to the cell wall and membrane and inhibits the respiration process. In the case of Escherichia coli, the uptake of phosphate and releasing of mannitol, succinate, proline, and glutamine is inhibited by the presence of silver. Therefore, silver nanoparticles can be used as effective growth inhibitor in various microorganisms, and they are applicable to different antibacterial control system.