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      A water lily–inspired hierarchical design for stable and efficient solar evaporation of high-salinity brine

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          Abstract

          A water lily–inspired hierarchical structure was designed for stable and efficient solar desalination and wastewater treatment.

          Abstract

          In recent years, interfacial solar vapor generation has shown great potential in realizing desalination and wastewater treatment with high energy conversion efficiency. However, high evaporation rate cannot be maintained because of the seemingly unavoidable fouling or salt accumulation on the solar absorbers. The degradation accelerates as the solute concentration increases. Here, we demonstrate a water lily–inspired hierarchical structure that enables efficient evaporation (~80% solar-to-vapor efficiency) out of high-salinity brine [10 weight % (wt %)] and wastewater containing heavy metal ions (30 wt %). More notably, neither decrease in evaporation rate nor fouling on absorbers was observed during the entire evaporation process until water and solute were completely separated. With the capabilities of stable and high-rate evaporation out of high-salinity brine and the effective separation of solute from water, it is expected that this technology can have direct implications in various fields such as wastewater treatment, sea-salt production, and metal recycling.

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          Most cited references36

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          3D self-assembly of aluminium nanoparticles for plasmon-enhanced solar desalination

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            Highly efficient solar vapour generation via hierarchically nanostructured gels

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              Light trapping in silicon nanowire solar cells.

              Thin-film structures can reduce the cost of solar power by using inexpensive substrates and a lower quantity and quality of semiconductor material. However, the resulting short optical path length and minority carrier diffusion length necessitates either a high absorption coefficient or excellent light trapping. Semiconducting nanowire arrays have already been shown to have low reflective losses compared to planar semiconductors, but their light-trapping properties have not been measured. Using optical transmission and photocurrent measurements on thin silicon films, we demonstrate that ordered arrays of silicon nanowires increase the path length of incident solar radiation by up to a factor of 73. This extraordinary light-trapping path length enhancement factor is above the randomized scattering (Lambertian) limit (2n(2) approximately 25 without a back reflector) and is superior to other light-trapping methods. By changing the silicon film thickness and nanowire length, we show that there is a competition between improved absorption and increased surface recombination; for nanowire arrays fabricated from 8 mum thick silicon films, the enhanced absorption can dominate over surface recombination, even without any surface passivation. These nanowire devices give efficiencies above 5%, with short-circuit photocurrents higher than planar control samples.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Sci Adv
                Sci Adv
                SciAdv
                advances
                Science Advances
                American Association for the Advancement of Science
                2375-2548
                July 2019
                05 July 2019
                : 5
                : 7
                : eaaw7013
                Affiliations
                National Laboratory of Solid State Microstructures, College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Artificial Functional Materials, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, P. R. China.
                Author notes
                [*]

                These authors contributed equally to this work.

                []Corresponding author. Email: jiazhu@ 123456nju.edu.cn
                Author information
                http://orcid.org/0000-0001-7121-7440
                http://orcid.org/0000-0002-4362-4425
                http://orcid.org/0000-0002-8405-5310
                http://orcid.org/0000-0002-0466-7692
                http://orcid.org/0000-0002-3472-6497
                http://orcid.org/0000-0002-2871-4369
                Article
                aaw7013
                10.1126/sciadv.aaw7013
                6611683
                31281896
                6b25e53e-5ef1-4700-8a1b-dac81912f3bd
                Copyright © 2019 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works. Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial License 4.0 (CC BY-NC).

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

                History
                : 17 January 2019
                : 30 May 2019
                Funding
                Funded by: doi http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/501100001809, National Natural Science Foundation of China;
                Award ID: 21805132
                Funded by: National Key Research and Development Program of China;
                Award ID: 2017YFA0205700
                Categories
                Research Article
                Research Articles
                SciAdv r-articles
                Chemistry
                Materials Science
                Applied Sciences and Engineering
                Custom metadata
                Sef Rio

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