(298b) Copper (II) Oxide Nanomaterial for Electroactive Inactivation of Coronavirus in Aerosols and Liquids | AIChE

(298b) Copper (II) Oxide Nanomaterial for Electroactive Inactivation of Coronavirus in Aerosols and Liquids


Saffary, Y. - Presenter, University of Utah
Willis, C., University of Utah
Mohanty, S., University of Utah
Viruses, more specifically coronaviruses, are extremely contagious and are transmitted through physical contact and airborne microdroplets. The recent SARS-CoV-2 (COVID19) has high surface stability and can remain suspended in the air for several minutes. These characteristics make disinfecting the environment difficult. Common viral disinfection methods are chemical disinfectants (chlorine and alcohol enriched products), ozonation, and ultraviolet light. These disinfecting methods can be expensive or form toxic byproducts. In this work, we present a novel approach to deactivating viruses, employing a nanostructured copper(II) oxide platform under given potentials. Prior studies have shown the inactivation of viruses on copper and copper ions surfaces1-3. A recent study also showed that the decay of COVID19 on copper surfaces was faster than other surfaces such as steel, plastic, and cardboard4.

Copper(II) ions, being highly reactive, are a good candidate for inactivating viruses. The nanostructured copper(II) oxide can be integrated into various devices suitable for cleaning the environment such as a surface cleaning wand or air purifier. It can also be integrated into personal protective equipment, such as masks worn by first responders. In this work, copper foil was anodized to create copper oxide nanostructures. Various annealing conditions in oxygen were explored to create a surface enriched with copper(II), which we hypothesize will be the most effective in the inactivation of viruses1. Coronaviruses were introduced to the conductive copper oxide nanostructure under various potentials to induce electrochemical reactions (such as oxidizing the virus RNA). Betacoronavirus, Avian Coronavirus, and Transmissible Gastroenteritis virus were chosen as surrogates for SARS-CoV-2, tested on the cupric oxide nanostructure. The final goal of this work is to utilize the nanostructure material in an electroactive device, designed to inactive coronavirus immediately upon contact. The applied potential to the copper oxide nanostructure results in instantaneously inactivation of the virus, compared to commonly viral inactivation methods that needed extended contact time. Results on the inactivation of the mentioned viruses will be presented.

Figure (1) is an SEM picture of copper oxide nanostructures made in a mixture of , NaOH and ethylene glycol. Data on anodized copper foil in solutions containing various amounts of the mentioned mixtures such as additive of fluoride ions to get to a sufficient amount of copper(II) oxide will be presented. The oxidative state of the copper oxide nanomaterial will also be explained during the presentation by showing X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy analysis.


[1] M. Horie et al., “Inactivation and morphological changes of avian influenza virus by copper ions,” Arch. Virol., vol. 153, no. 8, pp. 1467–1472, 2008.

[2] Sundberg, K.; Champagne, V.; McNally, B.; Helfritch, D.; Sisson, R., Effectiveness of nanomaterial copper cold spray surfaces on inactivation of influenza A virus. J Biotechnol Biomater 2015, 5 (205), 2.

[3] Longano, D.; Ditaranto, N.; Sabbatini, L.; Torsi, L.; Cioffi, N., Synthesis and antimicrobial activity of copper nanomaterials. In Nano-Antimicrobials, Springer: 2012; pp 85-117.

[4] D. Taylor, A. C. Lindsay, and J. P. Halcox, “c or r e sp ondence Aerosol and Surface Stability of SARS-CoV-2 as Compared with SARS-CoV-1,” pp. 0–2, 2010.