Plasmonic metal nitrides for solar-driven water evaporation
Meeting the demand for clean freshwater is now a major global challenge due to persistently increasing human population coupled with the adverse effects of climate change. Solar-driven water evaporation provides for both desalination and disinfection and thus is a simple, green method to generate clean freshwater. Water by itself does not strongly absorb solar insolation and thus solar evaporation requires an effective absorber material to mediate the optical to thermal energy transformation. The strong light-material interactions and heat generation in plasmonic materials have made them attractive candidates for water evaporation technologies. Of these, plasmonic metal nitrides have garnered significant interest lately owing to their low-cost, high light-to-heat conversion efficiency, and chemical stability. This review provides a summary of the recent progress in solar-driven water evaporation using plasmonic metal nitrides (TiN, ZrN, HfN). A brief outlook on the current challenges and future directions is also provided.