Article courtesy of Yang Liu & Jinwei Lou | December 8, 2015| ACS Publications | Shared as educational material
Solving the problems of water pollution and water shortage is an urgent need for the sustainable development of modern society. Different approaches, including distillation, filtration, and photocatalytic degradation, have been developed for the purification of contaminated water and the generation of clean water. In this study, we explored a new approach that uses solar light for both water purification and clean water generation. A bifunctional membrane consisting of a top layer of TiO2 nanoparticles (NPs), a middle layer of Au NPs, and a bottom layer of anodized aluminum oxide (AAO) was designed and fabricated through multiple filtration processes. Such a design enables both TiO2 NP-based photocatalytic function and Au NP-based solar-driven plasmonic evaporation. With the integration of these two functions into a single membrane, both the purification of contaminated water through photocatalytic degradation and the generation of clean water through evaporation were demonstrated using simulated solar illumination. Such a demonstration should also help open up a new strategy for maximizing solar energy conversion and utilization.
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