Material surface engineering has attracted great interest in important applications, including electronics, biomedicine, and membranes. More recently, dopamine has been widely exploited in solution-based chemistry to direct facile surface modification. However, unsolved questions remain about the chemical identity of the final products, their deposition kinetics and their binding mechanism. In particular, the dopamine oxidation reaction kinetics is a key to improving surface modification efficiency. Here, we demonstrate that high O 2 concentrations in the dopamine solution lead to highly homogeneous, thin layer deposition on any material surfaces via accelerated reaction kinetics, elucidated by Le Chatelier's principle toward dopamine oxidation steps in a Michael-addition reaction. As a result, highly uniform, ultra-smooth modified surfaces are achieved in much shorter deposition times. This finding provides new insights into the effect of reaction kinetics and molecular geometry on the uniformity of modifications for surface engineering techniques. © 2012 American Chemical Society.