Enhanced solar photothermal effect of PANi fabrics with plasmonic nanostructures†
The photothermal energy conversion in hanging and floating polyaniline (PANi)-cotton fabrics is investigated using a model based on the heat diffusion equation. Perfect absorption and anti-reflection of wet hanging PANi-cotton fabrics cause quick transfer of total incident light into water confining nearly 100% of the sunlight. As a result, a hanging membrane is found to have more attractive properties than a floating above water fabric. We find, however, that the photothermal properties of a floating PANi-cotton membrane can greatly be enhanced by dispersing TiN nanoparticles in the water below the fabric. The calculated temperature gradients for TiN nanoparticle solutions show that the absorbed energy grows with increasing the nanoparticle density and that the photothermal process occurs mostly near the surface. The collective heating effects depend on the size and density of nanoparticles, which can further be used to modulate the photothermal process.