The design, synthesis, fundamentals and evaluation of 2D/3D antimicrobial surfaces are addressed in detail in the current review. Recent advances in the antimicrobial mechanism, kinetics and properties of Ag, Cu and Ag-Cu surfaces in the dark and under light irradiation are described and discussed. The structure-reactivity relations in the catalyst/photocatalyst layers were described by way of the surface characterization and the observed antibacterial kinetics. Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus MRSA bacteria are selected as model pathogens to evaluate the antimicrobial inactivation kinetics. The separate antimicrobial properties of ions and the antimicrobial surface-contact effects are presented in a detailed way. The interfacial charge transfer (IFCT) mechanism and the identification of the most relevant reactive oxygen species (ROS) leading to bacterial disinfection are considered. The recently developed monitoring of the changes of the film surface potential (Eigenvalues) during bacterial inactivation and the redox reactions associated with catalyst/photocatalyst surfaces are also presented. The potential for practical applications of these innovative 2D films and 3D sputtered medical devices in health-care facilities are accounted for in the present review.