Quantum Nano-Materials for Photocatalytic Applications

Nir Waiskopf, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Abstract: Photocatalysis, the enhancement of chemical reactions by light, is a powerful approach, beneficial for a wide-range of industries. We developed a novel platform technology based on photocatalytic colloidal quantum nano-materials which presents significant advantages including: (1) Efficient photocatalytic activity; (2) Wide and tunable absorption spectra suitable for emerging LED based illumination as well as to traditional illumination technologies; (3) Enormous single and two-photon light sensitivity in comparison to currently known organic molecules based photo-initiators; (4) High solubility in various solvents including water; (5) High stability allowing prolonged use and multi-functionality.

The immediate technological implementation for our materials is filling an unmet need for efficient water-soluble photoinitiators for radical-polymerization processes towards functional coatings and for 2&3D printing. The current commercial photoinitiators are unsuitable for this application due to poor water solubility, low efficiency and restricted suitability to the emerging LED illumination technologies. On the other hand, our nano-materials can efficiently and continuously produce reactive species on demand upon illumination by near UV-VIS light in both organic and aqueous solvents, allowing the replacement of the traditional polymerization processes currently done in organic solvents and/or with deep UV light sources with green water based technology. This for example, is aimed to address the requirements of the evolving 3D biomedical industry which develops scaffold for tissue engineering, capsules for drug delivery, dental implants, etc.
Additional environmental, biomedical and energy applications, such as waste consumption and water purification, photodynamic therapy and anti-bacterial activity, along with green production of alternative fuels from water, whilst using solar energy will also be mentioned.