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February 11th, 2010
Scientists have used nanotechnology to develop a more efficient way of using light to purify water — even in the dark.
Light is often used as a water purifier and existing methods rely on processes stimulated by ultraviolet (UV) light.
But UV accounts for just five per cent of daylight so a method using visible light — which accounts for almost half — is more desirable.
Now researchers from the Shenyang National Laboratory for Materials Science in China and the University of Illinois have developed a photocatalyst that uses visible light to kill bacteria.
The catalyst is made from a grid of titanium oxide fibres impregnated with nitrogen. When light photons hit the grid a positive charge is created which splits water molecules, producing a substance deadly to microbes.
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