Plasmonic and superhydrophobic self-decontaminating n95 respirators

Hong Zhong, Zhaoran Zhu, Peng You, Jing Lin, Chi Fai Cheung, Vivien L. Lu, Feng Yan, Ching Yuen Chan, Guijun Li

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

91 Citations (Scopus)


The COVID-19 pandemic is endangering the world due to the spread of respiration droplets with viruses. Medical workers and frontline staff need to wear respirators to protect themselves from breathing in the virus-containing respiration droplets. The most frequently used state-of-the-art respirators are of N95 standard; however, they lack self-decontamination capabilities. In addition, the viruses and bacteria can accumulate on the respirator surfaces, possessing high risks to the wearers over long-term usage. Photothermal decontamination is a contactless, fast, low-cost, and widely available method, capable of decontaminating the respirators. Herein, we report a plasmonic photothermal and superhydrophobic coating on N95 respirators, possessing significantly better protection than existing personal protection equipment. The plasmonic heating can raise the surface temperature to over 80 °C for this type of respirator within 1 min of sunlight illumination. The superhydrophobic features prohibit respiration droplets from accumulating on the respirator surfaces. The presence of the silver nanoparticles can provide additional protection via the silver ion's disinfection toward microbes. These synergistic features of the composite coatings provide the N95 respirator with better protection and can inspire experts from interdisciplinary fields to develop better personal protection equipment to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8846-8854
Number of pages9
JournalACS Nano
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jul 2020


  • Covid-19
  • Laser precision manufacturing
  • Photothermal
  • Plasmonic
  • Superhydrophobic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • General Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy


Dive into the research topics of 'Plasmonic and superhydrophobic self-decontaminating n95 respirators'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this