Transparent ZnO-coated polydimethylsiloxane-based material

Scientists have described the production and photocatalytic properties of a material based on polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) as a carrier substrate coated with microparticles of zinc oxide (ZnO).

A graphic with a macroscope as symbol.

The ZnO microparticles are fabricated by a hydrothermal method and intentionally have a defect structure. According to the scientists, this peculiar defect structure contributes to the greatly enhanced photocatalytic properties of the ZnO material. The resulting photocatalyst demonstrates high activity under visible light (410 nm) in the process of phenol degradation in water solution, while generally ZnO is inactive below the UV range.

Sufficiently strong bonding for stable operation

In addition, the scientists compare the photocatalytic activity of the ZnO/PDMS composite to that of the same ZnO powder suspension in a similar setup. They found that the same activity is achieved by three orders of magnitude smaller amount of ZnO in their composite compared to the powder suspension. The ZnO/PDMS interface exhibits sufficiently strong bonding for stable operation that is ensured during material production.

The obtained photocatalytic material preserves the transparency of PDMS due to the low amount of attached ZnO (about 0.1% by mass). The transparency of the photocatalytic ZnO/PDMS material enables easy performance upgrades by constructing multilayer or manifold fluid treatment devices.

The work can be found in Journal of Coatings Technology and Research volume 17 (2020).

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