Researchers propose a new support material for the recyclable application of photocatalyst powders

Various photocatalyst powders can effectively remove contaminants and microorganisms from the body of water, but their practical application is limited due to poor recovery performance.

Previous studies have used magnetron sputtering and electrodeposition to obtain the bismuth-containing seed layer for in situ hydrothermal bismuth-based photocatalytic film grown on various substrates. However, this process is sophisticated and energy consuming.

Recently, a research team led by Prof. ZHANG Dun from Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (IOCAS) provided a kind of new epoxy resin interlayer for in situ hydrothermal photocatalyst on various metals.

The study was published in Separation and Purification Technology on March 15.

The researchers found that the photocatalytic film with a flower-like morphology could grow on metals coated with epoxy resin. The epoxy resin interlayer exhibited a distinctive feature of this work, with stress-free selectivity for metallic substrates.

Dipole-dipole interactions between the intermediate group of the polyvinyl pyrrolidone (PVP) stabilizer and the epoxy group of the epoxy resin were conductive to form the photocatalytic film of the hydrothermal active sites cultured in situ. The dissolution-recrystallization process occurred at the edge of the newly formed nanosheets. These nano-sheets were continuously stacked and assembled, and a film of flower-shaped microspheres gradually formed layer after layer on the metals.

“In contrast with the powdered bismuth photocatalyst, the film showed similar photocatalytic activity, indicating that processing the powdered photocatalyst into the film can maintain good photocatalytic activity,” said XU Xuelei, first author of the study.

“Inducing epoxy resin as a media layer that replaces the bismuth seed layer is simple and convenient,” Professor ZHANG said.

“The film composed of N,P-doped heterostructure may also have potential for the removal of contaminants and microorganisms. Therefore, this work highlights the development of a practical, economical, recycled and universal photocatalytic film on various metals for the degradation of contaminants and the destruction of microorganisms,” said Professor WANG Yi, the corresponding author of the study.

This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China and the “Kexue” High End User Program.

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Irene B. Bowles