Emerging investigator series: locally enhanced electric field treatment (LEEFT) with nanowire-modified electrodes for water disinfection in pipes†
Chlorine disinfection inevitably generates carcinogenic by-products. Alternative non-chlorine-based techniques in centralized treatment plants cannot produce residual antimicrobial power in water disinfection systems. Here, we propose locally enhanced electric field treatment (LEEFT) for chemical-free water disinfection in pipes. A tubular LEEFT device with coaxial electrodes is rationally developed for easy adaption to current water distribution systems as a segment of the pipelines. The center electrode is modified with perpendicularly grown nanowires, so that the electric field strength near the tips of the nanowires is significantly enhanced for pathogen inactivation. We have demonstrated >6-log inactivation of bacteria with 1 V, a small voltage that can be generated in situ by flowing water.