Towards energy level cascaded “quantum armours” combating metal corrosion

Yunpeng Liu, Jinwei Zhu, Zhenyu Wang, Xuanye Yan, Juantao Zhang, Wenlong Zhang, Hao Xu, Frank Marken, Jiangtao Feng, Bo Hou, Wei Yan, Mingtao Li, Zijun Ren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (SciVal)


Stainless steels typically feature high toughness and good corrosion resistance. However, pitting corrosion can easily occur on stainless steel and the passivation film tends to be vulnerable under pressure or in brine environments. Metal corrosion is a long-standing challenge for the steel industry, forging a path to net-zero. Herein, by successive growth of a series of quantum confined nanocrystals such as quantum dots and nanorods with gradient band energy level alignment, high-performance photoelectrochemical cathodic protection for steel is demonstrated with remarkable mechanical and electrochemical stability. Under simulated solar light illumination, effective photoinduced protection can be realized for 304 stainless steel which enables long-term corrosion resistance in a 3.5 wt% NaCl solution. Unique nanotree-like structures and the quaternary material combination can store excess charges and release them gradually, enabling time-delay protection for metals after light excitation. Various promising functionalities as unique photoelectrodes can be envisioned arising from the proposed 3D nanotree morphology.

Original languageEnglish
Article number153369
JournalApplied Surface Science
Early online date18 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2022


  • 304 stainless steel
  • Cascaded-junction
  • DFT
  • Photoelectrochemical cathodic protection
  • Quantum dot

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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