Nano Research

Article Title

Vertically aligned reduced graphene oxide/Ti3C2Tx MXene hybrid hydrogel for highly efficient solar steam generation


anisotropic hydrogel, MXene, reduced graphene oxide, solar steam generation, aligned channels


Effective utilization of abundant solar energy for desalination of seawater and purification of wastewater is one of sustainable techniques for production of clean water, helping relieve global water resource shortage. Herein, we fabricate a vertically aligned reduced graphene oxide/Ti3C2Tx MXene (A-RGO/MX) hybrid hydrogel with aligned channels as an independent solar steam generation device for highly efficient solar steam generation. The vertically aligned channels, generated by a liquid nitrogenassisted directional-freezing process, not only rapidly transport water upward to the evaporation surface for efficient solar steam generation, but also facilitate multiple reflections of solar light inside the channels for efficient solar light absorption. The deliberate slight reduction endows the RGO with plenty of polar groups, decreasing the water vaporization enthalpy effectively and hence accelerating water evaporation efficiently. The MXene sheets, infiltrated inside the A-RGO hydrogel on the basis of Marangoni effect, enhance light absorption capacity and photothermal conversion performance. As a result, the A-RGO/MX hybrid hydrogel achieves a water evaporation rate of 2.09 kg·m−2·h−1 with a high conversion efficiency of 93.5% under 1-sun irradiation. Additionally, this photothermal conversion hydrogel rapidly desalinates seawater and purifies wastewater to generate clean water with outstanding ion rejection rates of above 99% for most ions.

Graphical Abstract


Tsinghua University Press