Silver-based Antimicrobial Solution Protects Surfaces Without Staining

Technology #32580

New silver-based, non-toxic material kills microbes without discoloring surfaces such as wood, plastic, metal and clothing

UCF researchers have developed a silver-based nanocomposite material that provides the antimicrobial benefits of silver without discoloring or staining surfaces. The clear, colorless non-toxic material enables manufacturers to produce coatings and disinfectants that can protect wood, plastic, metal, ceramic and fabric against bacteria, fungi and other harmful microbes. 

For centuries, people have known about the antimicrobial characteristics of silver. Even low concentrations of silver have proven to be highly effective against antibiotic-resistant bacteria. However, color changes, such as grayish-brown stains, are typically associated with silver-containing materials. Thus, traditional silver-based antibacterial coatings (such as on handles of bathroom fixtures) tend to discolor and degrade on surfaces. The new invention differs from traditional protective solutions by providing a clear formulation that not only kills microbes on contact but also resists unsightly color changes over time.

Technical Details

The nanocomposite is made by co-loading silver nanoparticles with ionic silver and then using chelation to encapsulate the particles within a dielectric material, such as silica. Trapping and immobilizing the silver particles shifts the plasmon resonance of the silver out of the visible region (from 390 nm to 500 nm), thereby rendering the dielectric-silver nanocomposite transparent, free from discoloration, and usable on many surfaces. Additionally, the invention enables the extended release of silver, ensuring its prolonged efficacy as an antimicrobial agent.


  • Protects against microbes without discoloring surfaces
  • Eliminates as much as 99 percent of microbes on surfaces and inhibits adherence and growth
  • Low cost and non-toxic (encapsulated, nanoscale silver)


  • Spray-on disinfectant for surfaces such as wood, plastic and ceramics
  • Antimicrobial coating for molded plastics, medical applications, food processing facilities, bathroom and kitchen products, fabrics and clothing, toys, filtration units, and flooring

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