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  1. Abstract

    Coupling photocatalyst-coated optical fibers (P-OFs) with LEDs shows potential in environmental applications. Here we report a strategy to maximize P-OF light usage and quantify interactions between two forms of light energy (refracted light and evanescent waves) and surface-coated photocatalysts. Different TiO2-coated quartz optical fibers (TiO2-QOFs) are synthesized and characterized. An energy balance model is then developed by correlating different nano-size TiO2coating structures with light propagation modes in TiO2-QOFs. By reducing TiO2patchiness on optical fibers to 0.034 cm2/cm2and increasing the average interspace distance between fiber surfaces and TiO2coating layers to 114.3 nm, refraction is largely reduced when light is launched into TiO2-QOFs, and 91% of light propagated on the fiber surface is evanescent waves. 24% of the generated evanescent waves are not absorbed by nano-TiO2and returned to optical fibers, thus increasing the quantum yield during degradation of a refractory pollutant (carbamazepine) in water by 32%. Our model also predicts that extending the TiO2-QOF length could fully use the returned light to double the carbamazepine degradation and quantum yield. Therefore, maximizing evanescent waves to activate photocatalysts by controlling photocatalyst coating structures emerges as an effective strategy to improve light usage in photocatalysis.

     
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  2. Significance

    Self-assembly is one of the central themes in biologically controlled synthesis, and it also plays a pivotal role in fabricating a variety of advanced engineering materials. In particular, evaporation-induced self-assembly of colloidal particles enables versatile fabrication of highly ordered two- or three-dimensional nanostructures for optical, sensing, catalytic, and other applications. While it is well known that this process results in the formation of the face-centered cubic (fcc) lattice with the close-packed {111} plane parallel to the substrate, the crystallographic texture development of colloidal crystals is less understood. In this study, we show that the preferred <110> growth in the fcc colloidal crystals synthesized through evaporation-induced assembly is achieved through a gradual crystallographic rotation facilitated by mechanical stress-induced geometrically necessary dislocations.

     
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  3. null (Ed.)