Counteracting the spreading of multi-drug-resistant pathogens, taking place through surface-mediated cross-contamination, is amongst the higher priorities in public health policies. For these reason an appropriate design of antimicrobial nanostructured coatings may allow to exploit different antimicrobial mechanisms pathways, to be specifically activated by tailoring the coatings composition and morphology. Furthermore, their mechanical properties are of the utmost importance in view of the antimicrobial surface durability. Indeed, the coating properties might be tuned differently according to the specific synthesis method. The present review focuses on nanoparticle based bactericidal coatings obtained via magneton-spattering and supersonic cluster beam deposition. The bacteria–NP interaction mechanisms are first reviewed, thus making clear the requirements that a nanoparticle-based film should meet in order to serve as a bactericidal coating. Paradigmatic examples of coatings, obtained by magnetron sputtering and supersonic cluster beam deposition, are discussed. The emphasis is on widening the bactericidal spectrum so as to be effective both against gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, while ensuring a good adhesion to a variety of substrates and mechanical durability. It is discussed how this goal may be achieved combining different elements into the coating.
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