Polyethylenimine modified MoS2 nanocomposite with high stability and enhanced photothermal antibacterial activity

Wenbo Cao, Lin Yue, Imran Mahmood Khan, Zhouping Wang

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


The widespread bacterial infections accompanied by drug resistance, resulting from the abuse of traditional antibiotics, motivates researchers to develop effective antibacterial substitutes. Current researches have focused on positive antibacterial composites to promote interactions with bacteria, however facing challenges of unstable binding and low antibacterial efficiency. Here, we used covalent bonds to construct polyethylenimine modified Molybdenum disulfide (MoS2-PEI) nanocomposite to achieve tight combination and improve stability. We employed bifunctional groups including thiol and carboxylate group as a linker to firmly connect MoS2 and PEI. The covalent bonding strategy not only enhanced the stability of MoS2-PEI but also promoted the binding of MoS2-PEI to the surface of bacteria through electrostatic interaction. The distribution of MoS2-PEI around bacteria studies proved that positively charged MoS2-PEI could efficiently bind with negative bacteria. These two binding modes achieved accumulation of MoS2-PEI around bacteria and shortened the distance of reactive oxygen species (ROS) destruction. Moreover, the photothermal property of MoS2-PEI generated deep-penetrating heat and accelerated the oxidative stress. Under NIR light irradiation, MoS2-PEI exhibited synergistically prominent antibacterial efficacy against both Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus and displayed long term bactericidal effect after 1 week storage. This work could contribute as an alternative to improve the effectiveness of current disinfection treatments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number112762
JournalJournal of Photochemistry and Photobiology A: Chemistry
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Antibacterial activity
  • Covalent bonding
  • MoS-PEI nanocomposite
  • Photothermal effect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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