//18 August 2023

PhD update: first paper

It took a while. A long while. But it’s finally here—my first research article as a first author. Which is a big deal for any aspiring scientist and not even on the radar for the rest of the world.

Perhaps at a later stage I’ll write more about this experience. For now, I’ll just leave you with the title, abstract and link. The paper is published as Open Access, so everyone can read it for free.

Combined Structural and Plasmonic Enhancement of Nanometer-Thin Film Photocatalysis for Solar-Driven Wastewater Treatment

ACS Applied Nano Materials 2023 6 (16), 15204-15212
DOI: 10.1021/acsanm.3c02867

Titanium dioxide (TiO2) thin films are commonly used as photocatalytic materials. Here, we enhance the photocatalytic activity of devices based on titanium dioxide (TiO2) by combining nanostructured glass substrates with metallic plasmonic nanostructures. We achieve a three-fold increase of the catalyst’s surface area through nanoscale, three-dimensional patterning of periodic, conical grids, which creates a broadband optical absorber. The addition of aluminum and gold activates the structures plasmonically and increases the optical absorption in the TiO2 films to above 70% in the visible and NIR spectral range. We demonstrate the resulting enhancement of the photocatalytic activity with organic dye degradation tests under different light sources. Furthermore, the pharmaceutical drug Carbamazepine, a common water pollutant, is reduced in the aqueous solution by up to 48% in 360 min. Our approach is scalable and potentially enables future solar-driven wastewater treatment.

Similar to what I did with my Master thesis post, later I might add a “demystified version” of the abstract here.

Last but not least, here is the cover art I made for the journal in Blender. Considering I had no prior experience with Blender, it isn’t too shabby. Still, I’d like to improve in the future.

As always, curious scientists and non-scientists alike are welcome to contact me, should they have any questions or comments. And what’s next? Right now I’m working on another project called FreeHydroCells. Check out its official website until I come round to writing something more about it.