Non-equilibrium plasmas offer several strategies for developing antibacterial surfaces that are able to repel and/or to kill bacteria. Due to the variety of devices, implants, and materials in general, as well as of bacteria and applications, plasma assisted antibacterial strategies need to be tailored to each specific surface. Nano-composite coatings containing inorganic (metals and metal oxides) or organic (drugs and biomolecules) compounds can be deposited in one step, and used as drug delivery systems. On the other hand, functional coatings can be plasma-deposited and used to bind antibacterial molecules, for synthesizing surfaces with long lasting antibacterial activity. In addition, non-fouling coatings can be produced to inhibit the adhesion of bacteria and reduce the formation of biofilm. This paper reviews plasma-based strategies aimed to reduce bacterial attachment and proliferation on biomedical materials and devices, but also onto materials used in other fields. Most of the activities described have been developed in the lab of the authors.
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