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Issue 4, 2016
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Self-assembled nanoparticle-stabilized photocatalytic reactors

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Abstract

The efficiency of nanostructured photocatalysts continues to improve at an impressive pace and is closing in on those needed for commercial applications; however, present-day reactor strategies used to deploy these nanostructures fail to achieve the sufficient areas (>1 m2) needed for solar application. Here we report the Self-assembled Nanoparticle-stabilized Photocatalytic Reactor (SNPR), a fully-scalable reactor strategy comprised only of nanoparticles adsorbed at the fluid–fluid interfaces of oil-in-water emulsions, water-in-oil emulsions, and CO2-in-water foams. We show that SNPRs naturally disperse over open water and need no physical substrate, requiring only photocatalysts and fluid. In environmental applications the SNPR provides more than double the reaction rate of a comparable single-phase reactor. In continuous mode, the SNPR achieves 100% photocatalyst retention and processes 96% of the stream over 20 hours; in contrast, the performance of a comparable aqueous suspension declines to zero over this interval, losing all photocatalyst to the outlet stream. We further characterize the photoactivity of individual photocatalytic droplets, with reactants in both the continuous and dispersed phases. These results demonstrate SNPRs as a robust and flexible reactor strategy and a route-to-scale for nanomaterials.

Graphical abstract: Self-assembled nanoparticle-stabilized photocatalytic reactors

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Publication details

The article was received on 27 Aug 2015, accepted on 12 Dec 2015 and first published on 14 Dec 2015


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C5NR05859G
Citation: Nanoscale, 2016,8, 2107-2115
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    Self-assembled nanoparticle-stabilized photocatalytic reactors

    T. Burdyny, J. Riordon, C. Dinh, E. H. Sargent and D. Sinton, Nanoscale, 2016, 8, 2107
    DOI: 10.1039/C5NR05859G

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