Nano Research

Article Title

Self-assembled core-shell polydopamine@MXene with synergistic solar absorption capability for highly efficient solar-to-vapor generation


self-assembly, polydopamine (PDA)@MXene microsphere, synergistic light absorption, solar-to-vapor generation, light absorption stability


As a renewable and environment-friendly technology for seawater desalination and wastewater purification, solar energy triggered steam generation is attractive to address the long-standing global water scarcity issues. However, practical utilization of solar energy for steam generation is severely restricted by the complex synthesis, low energy conversion efficiency, insufficient solar spectrum absorption and water extraction capability of state-of-the-art technologies. Here, for the first time, we report a facile strategy to realize hydrogen bond induced self-assembly of a polydopamine (PDA)@MXene microsphere photothermal layer for synergistically achieving wide-spectrum and highly efficient solar absorption capability (~ 96% in a wide solar spectrum range of 250–1,500 nm wavelength). Moreover, such a system renders fast water transport and vapor escaping due to the intrinsically hydrophilic nature of both MXene and PDA, as well as the interspacing between core-shell microspheres. The solar-to-vapor conversion efficiencies under the solar illumination of 1 sun and 4 sun are as high as 85.2% and 93.6%, respectively. Besides, the PDA@MXene photothermal layer renders the system durable mechanical properties, allowing producing clean water from seawater with the salt rejection rate beyond 99%. Furthermore, stable light absorption performance can be achieved and well maintained due to the formation of ternary TiO2/C/MXene complex caused by oxidative degradation of MXene. Therefore, this work proposes an attractive MXene-assisted strategy for fabricating high performance photothermal composites for advanced solar-driven seawater desalination applications.

Graphical Abstract


Tsinghua University Press