Based upon a new catalyst, the disinfection process can be used to purify drinking water, sanitize surgical instruments and remove unwanted fingerprints from delicate electrical and optical components.
“The new catalyst also has a unique catalytic memory effect that continues to kill deadly pathogens for up to 24 hours after the light is turned off,” said Jian Ku Shang, a professor of materials science and engineering at the U. of I.
Shang is corresponding author of a paper that is scheduled to appear in the Journal of Materials Chemistry, and posted on the journal’s Web site.
Shang’s research group had previously developed a catalytic material that worked with visible light, instead of the ultraviolet light required by other catalysts. This advance, which was made by doping a titanium-oxide matrix with nitrogen, meant the disinfection process could be activated with sunlight or with standard indoor lighting.
“When visible light strikes this catalyst, electron-hole pairs are produced in the matrix,” Shang said. “Many of these electrons and holes quickly recombine, however, severely limiting the effectiveness of the catalyst.”
To improve the efficiency of the catalyst, Shang and collaborators at the U. of I. and at the Chinese Academy of Sciences added palladium nanoparticles to the matrix. The palladium nanoparticles trap the electrons, allowing the holes to react with water to produce oxidizing agents, primarily hydroxyl radicals, which kill bacteria and viruses.
When the light is turned off, the palladium nanoparticles slowly release the trapped electrons, which can then react with water to produce additional oxidizing agents.
“In a sense, the material remembers that it was radiated with light,” Shang said. “This ‘memory effect’ can last up to 24 hours.”
Although the disinfection efficiency in the dark is not as high as it is in visible light, it enables the continuous operation of a unique, robust catalytic disinfection system driven by solar or other visible light illumination.
In addition to environmental applications, the new catalyst could also be used to remove messy, oily fingerprints from optical surfaces, computer displays and cellphone screens, Shang said.
The work was supported by the National Science Foundation through the Center of Advanced Materials for the Purification of Water with Systems at the U. of I. Some of the work was performed at the U. of I.’s Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory, which is partially supported by the U.S. Department of Energy.
Editor’s notes: To reach Jian Ku Shang, call 217-333-9268; e-mail: email@example.com. To view or subscribe to the RSS feed for Science News at Illinois, go to: http://webtools.uiuc.edu/rssManager/608/rss.xml.
James E. Kloeppel | University of Illinois
Further reports about: > Illinois River Watershed > Science TV > disinfection process > infection process > light illumination > nitrogen > optical components > palladium nanoparticles > photocatalyst kills bacteria > photocatalytic disinfection process > primarily hydroxyl radicals > sanitize surgical instruments > titanium-oxide matrix > unwanted fingerprints > visible light
What happens in the cell nucleus after fertilization
06.12.2016 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt
Researchers uncover protein-based “cancer signature”
05.12.2016 | Universität Basel
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
06.12.2016 | Materials Sciences
06.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
06.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering