Silver atoms show up as red in this X-ray fluorescence image of a region within the skin tissues below a burn treated with a silver nanoparticle dressing. Silver has accumulated in the tissue surrounding a vascularised region in the centre of the image.
Due to their strong antibacterial action, silver nanoparticles are increasingly being employed in the hospital treatment of severe skin burns. The image is from a study aimed at depicting the mobility and the chemical transformation of silver occurring within skin tissue. The figure below shows a depth profile (450 x 3000 μm) of the wound after 3 days of application of a bandage containing silver nanoparticles. Colours indicate the distribution of Ag (red), P (blue), and Cl (green). Silver penetrates into the upper dermis and moves toward the capillary blood vessels, while a new epidermis is forming on top of the damaged surface. The experiment was carried out at beamline ID21 using X-ray fluorescence imaging with a lateral resolution of 2 µm.
Image credit: M. Roman, University Ca’ Foscari, IDPA-CNR.