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      Abstract: Silicon microneedle (Si-MN) systems are a promising strategy for transdermal drug delivery due to their minimal invasiveness and ease of processing and application. Traditional Si-MN arrays are usually fabricated by using micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) processes, which are expensive and not suitable for large-scale manufacturing and applications. In addition, Si-MNs have a smooth surface, making it difficult for them to achieve high-dose drug delivery. Herein, we

      demonstrate a solid strategy to prepare a novel black silicon microneedle (BSi-MN) patch with ultrahydrophilic surfaces for high drug loading. The proposed strategy consists of a simple fabrication of plain Si-MNs and a subsequent fabrication of black silicon nanowires. First, plain Si-MNs were prepared via a simple method consisting of laser patterning and alkaline etching. The nanowire structures were then prepared on the surfaces of the plain Si-MNs to form the BSi-MNs through Ag-catalyzed chemical etching. The effects of preparation parameters, including Ag+ and HF concentrations during Ag nanoparticle deposition and [HF/(HF + H2O2)] ratio during Ag-catalyzed chemical etching, on the morphology and properties of the BSi-MNs were investigated in detail. The results show that the final prepared BSi-MN patches exhibit an excellent drug loading capability, more than twice that of plain Si-MN patches with the same area, while maintaining comparable mechanical properties for practical skin piercing applications. Moreover, the BSi-MNs exhibit a certain antimicrobial activity that is expected to prevent bacterial growth and disinfect the affected area when applied to the skin.







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