Rub-Resistant Antibacterial Surface Conversion Layer on Stainless Steel

Haiyue Huang, Olivia Willilams Barber, Zhilong Yu, Hun Park, Xiaobing Hu, Xinqi Chen, Chun Hu Chen, Erica M. Hartmann*, Jiaxing Huang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Stainless steels are widely used in hospitals and public transportation vehicles as one of the most common touch surfaces. Retrofitting stainless steel surfaces with an antimicrobial layer can bring potential public health benefits by reducing the ability of inanimate objects, or fomites, to transmit infections. Here, a facile surface conversion reaction between stainless steel and a solution of KMnO4 and CuSO4 is reported, which leads to a conformal and robust oxyhydroxide layer. Microscopy observations show that the layer is amorphous, continuous, and pinhole-free with a thickness of only 10–15 nm. The coating adheres strongly to stainless steel and can resist rubbing in simulated friction tests, which is attributed to its intermixing with the substrate without forming a sharp interface. Cu ions incorporated into the surface layer can be released into water droplets deposited on the surface and induce antimicrobial activities against bacteria (Pseudomonas aeruginosa PA14) after 30 min of contact.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2200251
JournalAdvanced Materials Interfaces
Issue number11
StatePublished - Apr 14 2022


  • antimicrobial
  • coating
  • oxyhydroxide
  • stainless steel
  • surface conversion layer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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