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Materials Frontier No.132

Title: Design of Nanomaterials for Clean Water and Energy Production
Speaker: Peng Wang, Water Desalination and Reuse Center,
          Biological and Environmental Science and Engineering Division,
          King Abdullah University of Science and Technology
Date/Time: 2014-03-14,14:00-15:30
Venue: Room.308, Material Building A
Inviter: Prof.Peng ZHANG
Professor Peng Wang received his BS and MS in Environmental Science from Nanjing University and Sun Yat-Sen University respectively and obtained his PhD in Environmental Science and Management from University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB). He joined King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in 2009 and currently serves as the program chair of Environmental Science and Engineering (EnSE) at KAUST. He is the principal investigator of Environmental Nanotechnology Laboratory at KAUST and his current research focuses on (1) development of multifunctional porous nanomaterials for highly efficient and selective removal of water decontaminants; (2) interfacial materials with controllable surface wettability for oil/water separation, water collection, oil spill cleanup, and anti-fouling surfaces; (3) anodized nanostructure array based photoelectrocatalysis and photocatalysis for water purification and water splitting. More details of Professor Peng Wang research can be found at: http://faculty.kaust.edu.sa/sites/pengwang.
In this presentation, I will present recent activities of my research group in the area of environmental nanotechnology. (1) Photoelectrochemical (PEC) water splitting. I will introduce two-step anodization method for the morphology control of the hierarchical top-layer/bottom-tube arrays TiO2 nanotube (TiO2 NTs) arrays. The top porous layer of the hierarchical TiO2 NTs was found to have characteristics of photonic crystal, which was utilized to combine with plasmonic Au nanocrystals to produce highly efficient visible-light active composite material for water splitting. (2) Smart materials for oil/water separation. I will talk about the block copolymer grafting strategy developed in my group for producing smart surfaces which are able to switch between superoleophilicity and superoleophobicity in aqueous media. The smart surfaces are obtained by grafting a block copolymer, comprising blocks of pH-responsive poly(2-vinylpyridine) and oleophilic/hydrophobic polydimethylsiloxane (i.e., P2VP-b-PDMS) on these materials. As a proof of concept, I will demonstrate that materials functionalized with our smart surfaces can be used for highly controllable oil/water separation processes and serves as highly regenerable sorbents for oil spill cleanup (the materials can capture and release oil on demand).

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