ArticlePDF Available

Abstract and Figures

he water and energy sectors of an economy are inextricably linked. Energy is required in water production, distribution, and recycling, while water is often used for energy generation. In many geographical locations, the energy-water nexus is exacerbated by the shortage of both fresh water resources and energy generation infrastructure. New materials, including metamaterials, are now emerging to address the challenges of providing renewable energy and fresh water, especially to off-the-grid communities struggling with water shortages. Novel nanomaterials have fueled recent technology breakthroughs in solar water desalination, fog and dew collection, and cloud seeding. Materials for passive thermal management of buildings and individuals offer promising strategies to reduce the use of energy and water for heating and cooling. While many challenges remain, emerging materials and technologies improve sustainable management of water and energy resources.
Content may be subject to copyright.
© 2019 Materials Research Society MRS BULLETIN VOLUME 44 JANUARY 2019
Many communities worldwide suffer from a shortage of fresh
water resources ( Figure 1 a ). 1 In some cases, the water short-
age is caused by geography and climate, while in others, eco-
nomic reasons prevail, including the high cost of industrial
installation for energy production and water purifi cation, and
the absence of available credit resources to invest in new
2 , 3 One of the most promising strategies to
address the challenges of providing renewable energy and fresh
water, especially to off-the-grid communities, is to make use
of the freely available sunlight as the renewable energy source
as well as the vast cold universe as the heatsink. Fortunately,
most of the regions with high water shortages have a natural
advantage of abundant solar-energy resources ( Figure 1b ).
Sunlight can be harnessed to fuel chemical reactions, gen-
erate electricity in solar cells, disinfect water, and produce heat
for terrestrial thermal engines, water desalination plants, and
residential use.
5 – 8 In turn, passive cooling of roofs, solar cells,
and individuals via engineering solar absorptance and thermal
radiation properties of materials can save energy through
reduced use of air conditioning and other electricity-consuming
active-cooling technologies.
9 – 15 Passive cooling of surfaces
can also increase the effi ciency of dew collection, helping
to extract fresh water from the atmosphere.
16 – 19 Examples of
nanomaterials developed to advance emerging technologies in
the energy-water nexus are shown in Figure 2 . 20 – 28 We discuss
some of them in detail next, while also referring the reader to
the available extensive review literature.
5 , 7 , 29 – 33
Solar harvesting and cooling
To harvest solar light and heat, materials need to be spectrally
engineered in the broad range of wavelengths ( Figure 3 a ),
covering both the solar spectrum ( 0.3–2.5 μ m wavelength)
and the infrared emission spectrum of terrestrial emitters
( 2–15 μ m, depending on the emitter temperature).
7 , 34 – 38 An
ideal absorber should possess high spectral absorptance in the
solar spectrum range, low infrared emittance to reduce radiative
heat losses, excellent durability at elevated temperature in air
and water, and low cost, combining inexpensive starting mate-
rials and scalable coating processes.
39 Nonselective blackbody
absorbers, including black fabrics, paints, and carbon-based
materials, can be relatively inexpensive and provide high
light absorption in a broad wavelength range.
40 – 42 However,
they also emit thermal radiation over a broad range, which
typically limits their use to either low-temperature appli-
cations such as conventional solar stills,
40 , 43 , 44 or applications
relying on concentrating sunlight to small areas with lenses
and refl ectors.
6 , 34
Nanomaterials for the water-energy
Svetlana V. Boriskina , Aikifa Raza , TieJun Zhang , Peng Wang ,
Lin Zhou , and Jia Zhu
The water and energy sectors of an economy are inextricably linked. Energy is required in
water production, distribution, and recycling, while water is often used for energy generation.
In many geographical locations, the energy-water nexus is exacerbated by the shortage of
both fresh water resources and energy generation infrastructure. New materials, including
metamaterials, are now emerging to address the challenges of providing renewable energy
and fresh water, especially to off-the-grid communities struggling with water shortages. Novel
nanomaterials have fueled recent technology breakthroughs in solar water desalination, fog and
dew collection, and cloud seeding. Materials for passive thermal management of buildings
and individuals offer promising strategies to reduce the use of energy and water for heating
and cooling. While many challenges remain, emerging materials and technologies improve
sustainable management of water and energy resources.
Svetlana V. Boriskina , Department of Mechanical Engineering , Massachusetts Institute of Technology , USA ;
Aikifa Raza , Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering , Masdar Institute , Khalifa University of Science and Technology , United Arab Emirates ;
TieJun Zhang , Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering , Masdar Institute , Khalifa University of Science and Technology , United Arab Emirates ;
Peng Wang , King Abdullah University of Science and Technology , Saudi Arabia ;
Lin Zhou , College of Engineering and Applied Sciences , Nanjing University , China ;
Jia Zhu , College of Engineering and Applied Sciences , Nanjing University , China ;
Downloaded from MIT Libraries, on 10 Jan 2019 at 17:08:44, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at
NaNomaterials for the water-eNergy Nexus
Solar absorbers can be engineered by introducing metal nano-
structures, such as nanoparticles, nanopores, and nanodisks,
either on the absorber surface or inside its volume.8,35,38,39,4548
Surface plasmon modes excited by incident sunlight on these
nanostructures facilitate efficient absorption of solar photons
and conversion of their energy into heat. The nanostructured
solar absorbers can be tailored to simultaneously offer high
reflectance (i.e., low emittance) at longer wavelengths, thus
facilitating heat trapping.6,7,34,4951
Other approaches to enhance solar absorptance rely on the
use of thin-film, photonic-crystal, and graded-index coatings as
well as mesoscale structures combining photonic crystals and
thin films with nanoparticles.37,45,52–56 Lithography-free fabri-
cation techniques yielding nanocomposite films and coatings
are especially attractive for solar-thermal applications owing to
their cost effectiveness and scalability.39 An example of such
scalable ultrathin nanocomposite film composed of silver (Ag)
and glass (SiO2) materials is shown in Figure 3b.57 This nano-
composite absorber traps sunlight in a broad frequency range
via excitation of multiple plasmonic resonances. These reso-
nances are excited at several frequencies overlapping with the
solar spectrum, and exhibit different spatial distributions of
electromagnetic field, as shown in Figure 3b. Multifrequency
response of this absorber stems from its complex mesosale
internal structure. As surface plasmon resonances decay, their
energy is dissipated as heat, elevating the absorber temperature.
Furthermore, both sunlight and heat can be
trapped inside internally hot, externally cool
solar absorbers capped with optically transparent
yet thermally insulating materials (Figure 3c).
Highly porous aerogels and foams are excel-
lent candidates for thermally insulating absorber
coatings due to their extra-low thermal con-
ductivity values. They can be made optically
transparent for the solar light by reducing the
size of the pores to the nanoscale,43,58,59 and
can increase efficiency of blackbody absorb-
ers such as carbon black particles. The infrared
camera image shown in Figure 3c illustrates
the use of optically transparent silica aerogel
insulation to trap heat inside a solar-thermal
receiver illuminated by artificial sunlight from
a solar simulator.60,61
Spectrally selective coatings are also find-
ing use in daytime radiative cooling applica-
tions.62–64 Thermal spectra of terrestrial emitters
peak in the mid-infrared range (7–15 μm).
The earth’s atmosphere is transparent within this
range, known as the “atmospheric transparency
window” (Figure 3a). Mid-infrared photons can
escape through this window into outer space,
thus causing cooling. Most materials, including
vegetation and commercial paints, have high
emittance in the mid to far-infrared range, allow-
ing for nighttime radiative cooling.12,65
Daytime radiative cooling is more challenging, as the ther-
mal radiation process has to compete with heating via sunlight
absorption. Recently, this challenge has been met by the
development of spectrally selective surfaces that efficiently
reflect sunlight and simultaneously emit efficiently in the
mid-infrared. The refractive index engineering of multilay-
ered structures consisting of hafnia (Hf O2) and silica (SiO2)
glasses resulted in daytime radiative cooling below the ambient
temperature.10,66,67 Glass-polymer hybrid metamaterials as
well as metal-lined polymer films have also been developed
for daytime radiative cooling.13,14,16 Optically transparent
polymers such as polyethylene and poly(methyl methacrylate)
(PMMA) offer opportunities to create inexpensive, lightweight,
and large-scale films for practical applications.
Wearable technologies can also be adapted to incorporate
passive radiative cooling functionality. Since human skin is an
almost ideal blackbody emitter in the infrared spectral range,
fabrics that exhibit a transparency window in the same spectral
range can help skin cool via the thermal radiation mechanism
(Figure 3d).68 Polyethylene is a polymer that exhibits uniquely
low mid-infrared absorptance and high transmittance for ther-
mal radiation from the skin. Polyethylene fabrics that com-
bine visible opaqueness with infrared transparency have been
theoretically predicted15 and later demonstrated to achieve
skin temperature reduction by 1–2°C relative to conventional
textiles.69–73 Visible opaqueness of the PE fabrics stems from
Figure 1. (a) Global water scarcity map. Many communities worldwide experience
year-round water shortages. Adapted with permission from Reference 1. © 2016 AAAS.
(b) Global solar irradiation map. Regions with water shortages typically have higher-
than-average solar resources.4
Downloaded from MIT Libraries, on 10 Jan 2019 at 17:08:44, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at
NaNomaterials for the water-eNergy Nexus
light scattering by their internal microstructure comprised of
either fibers or pores of 1–20 μm in size.
Water purication
Solar heat trapped by selective absorbers can be used for
solar-driven water purification.74 Vapor generation for water
distillation in solar stills is an ancient technology5 whose com-
mercial adoption for large-scale applications has long been
stymied by higher cost relative to membrane-based water
purification techniques. However, passive solar technology
offers an attractive solution for small-scale off-grid applica-
tions, especially in economically disadvantaged geographical
locations or disaster zones. Recently, the interfacial solar vapor
generation approach revived interest in solar distillation.75–83
Interfacial evaporation occurs on the surface of water and
can be achieved by using a solar absorber floating on the water
surface (Figure 4a).40,8486 To maintain high efficiency of
the evaporation process, parasitic heat losses from the absorber
should be minimized. These include optical loss (reflection) as
well as thermal loss (heat conduction, convec-
tion, and radiation). To reduce all the losses, the
absorber needs to be engineered to provide not
only spectral selectivity, but also low thermal
conductivity for vertical heat localization; a
porous microstructure with high wettability for
water transport; thermal, humidity and chemi-
cal stability; and opportunities for low-cost and
scalable fabrication.
After demonstrations of the concept of heat
localization for interfacial solar evaporation in
high concentration plasmonic opto-nanofluids
(i.e., suspensions of silica-core gold-coated
nanoshells in water) and floating porous carbon
foam absorbers,75,76,87 many solar still designs
and materials were reported. These included
noble-metal nanospheres, nanoshells and
nanorods,55,78,81,8892 less expensive carbon-based
black absorbers,21,43,9395 and other exotic and
nature-inspired materials, including paper, car-
bonized wood, leaves, and mushrooms.79,9698
For example, the structure of mushrooms offers
a restricted vertical water pathway, which was
utilized in the development of efficient solar
evaporators based on natural carbonized mush-
rooms (Figure 4b).85 High-temperature solar
steam is of special interest for solar sterilization
of food, waste, or medical equipment in off-grid
locations,99 and can typically only be achieved
under concentrated sunlight and in pressurized
systems. However, lateral thermal concen-
tration86 (Figure 4c) can increase vapor temper-
ature up to the water boiling point by enlarging
the ratio of solar absorption area to the evapora-
tion area. Even higher steam temperatures can
be reached in contactless solar stills, where a
porous solar absorber is separated from the water surface by
an air gap; it heats the water and the water vapor radiatively
by emitting infrared photons.100
Overall, passive solar-thermal desalination has high
potential for applications in decentralized water purification
and zero-liquid discharge desalination, especially for high-
concentration brine treatment that presents significant chal-
lenges for membrane-based filtration technologies.101–103 Solar
stills can be used for recycling valuable chemicals dissolved in
brine and also produce water, and in combination with power
generators104 or solar-fuel generation systems,80 they show great
promise for urgent survival needs in areas with both water and
energy shortages. To avoid fouling of floating solar still materi-
als with salts left behind by the evaporation process, optimum
combinations of hydrophilic wicking and hydrophobic insulat-
ing materials have been proposed (Figure 4d).40,94
Owing to many improvements in materials and design
strategies, single-stage solar still technology is gradually
approaching the production rate of mature filtration-based
Figure 2. Examples of nano- and mesoscale materials developed to advance emerging
technologies in the energy-water nexus. From the top, clockwise: solar water splitting
(FeP/Ni2P nanoparticles on a Ni foam),20 solar evaporation (electrospun nylon/carbon
bers),21 atmospheric water collection (dew drops on spider silk bers),22 cloud seeding
(TiO2 shell–NaCl core particles),23 membrane water desalination and waste water treatment
(nanoporous carbon composite membrane),24 deicing of surfaces (silicon micropillars
covered with Ti nanowires),25 passive radiative cooling (nanoporous polyethylene lm),26
oil-water separation for treating produced water (nanostructured CuO mesh),27 and
solar microbial disinfection (vertically aligned MoS2 nanolms).28
Downloaded from MIT Libraries, on 10 Jan 2019 at 17:08:44, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at
NaNomaterials for the water-eNergy Nexus
technologies (40–400 L/m2/day for seawater filtration), with a
solar vaporization rate of 18–23 L/m2/day recently demon-
strated under natural sunlight with a hierarchically nanostruc-
tured gel based on poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) and polypyrrole
(PPy).105 This high evaporation rate exceeds the photothermal
efficiency limit, indicating that the phase-change enthalpy
of water in nanoscale-confined space can be reduced, which
is of both fundamental and applied importance.
The efficiency of the solar evaporation process can also be
increased by environmental energy harvesting82 and radiation
loss recycling106 strategies, as well as strategies to recover the
latent heat of water vaporization, which is typically released
into the environment once the vapor condenses in the fresh
water collector.107,108 A multistage solar still has been recently
demonstrated, which recovers and reuses the latent heat sev-
eral times prior to its release to the environment at lower tem-
perature.109 This still enjoys both advantages of thermal-based
desalination and membrane-based filtration processes, and
uses commercial spectrally selective coating (TiNOX) for solar
absorption as well as polyethylene films for thermal insulation.
Such a multistage system yields a large-scale
purified water production rate of 72 L/m2/day,
which is one magnitude higher than that achiev-
able with single-stage solar stills.
Atmospheric water extraction
The atmosphere holds 12,900 billion tons of
fresh water, equivalent to 10% of the water
in all of the lakes and six times the water in
all rivers on Earth.110 Harvestable atmospheric
water, including water vapor and water drop-
lets in fog, is present even in very dry des-
ert regions.11 0 Atmospheric water harvesting is
emerging as an alternative approach for arid
regions, landlocked, and remote communi-
ties.111 Fog harvesting is the most ancient way
of collecting air water, which has been used by
plants, animals, and humans worldwide to har-
vest fresh water. Many modern nanostructured
materials used in fog harvesting actually mimic
biological systems of plants and insects.112116
However, fog harvesting necessitates consis-
tently high (close to 100%) relative humidity
(RH) in air, which makes it a viable solution
only in some locations.117,118 In regions with
fresh water scarcity, harvesting water vapor
from air is a more meaningful approach.119
Active refrigeration is currently the most
popular way to extract water from the atmos-
phere.120,121 The method uses an engineered cold
surface to cool the adjacent air mass below the
dew point to produce water droplets via con-
densation.17,18,121,122 A sorption-based approach
for atmospheric water vapor harvesting is also
gaining popularity (Figure 5), in which a water
sorbent, such as metal–organic framework (MOF), anhydrate
salts, deliquescent salts, is used to harvest water vapor from
air, and it is then heated with assistance from photothermal
material to release and subsequently condense the water.122–125
Effective photothermal materials, such as carbon nanotubes,
carbon black particles, and graphene, have been utilized to
directly tap sunlight to drive the water vapor release out of the
water vapor sorbents.105 The solar-photothermal process along
with an effective water vapor sorbent has recently delivered
fully solar energy-driven autonomous atmospheric water gen-
erator devices.122,123,126
An efficient vapor sorbent should be capable of absorbing
large amounts of water, even from air with reasonably low RH,
and releasing most of the water at a relatively low tempera-
ture (60–80°C) achieved under sunlight illumination.76,127,128
Conventional desiccants, such as silica gel, zeolite, and acti-
vated alumina have a wide water vapor sorption window, but
require high temperatures (>160°C) to efficiently release most
of the captured water.129–131 Recently, new material candidates
have emerged that are capable of operation under sunlight.
Figure 3. (a) Wavelength spectra of solar radiation (red) and atmospheric transparency
(yellow). Terrestrial objects emit thermal radiation in the mid to far-infrared spectral
range, which overlaps with the transparency window in the atmospheric spectrum,
allowing for their passive cooling via radiation into the ultra-cold of outer space. (b) Local
electromagnetic eld intensity distribution at two separate wavelengths within the visible
spectrum in a broadband solar absorber that combines thin-lm interference and localized
surface plasmon resonance effects in an Ag-SiO2 nanocomposite structure.57 (c) Local
temperature distribution in the internally hot, externally cool solar absorber utilizing carbon
foam as the blackbody absorber and a transparent silica aerogel60 as thermal insulation
material. (d) Optical (left) and infrared (right) images of a human hand covered with wearable
fabrics, which are either blocking infrared emission from the skin (cotton, bottom) or
allowing it to pass through (polyethylene, top).68
Downloaded from MIT Libraries, on 10 Jan 2019 at 17:08:44, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at
NaNomaterials for the water-eNergy Nexus
These include MOFs such as Zr6O4(OH)4(fumarate)6,122,123
anhydrous and hydrated salt couples (CuCl2, CuSO4 and
MgSO4),126 and hydrogels.132 It is expected that other sorbent
materials will emerge in the near future with large water sorp-
tion capacities and easy water release. As research on photo-
thermal conversion materials progresses, higher temperatures
may be produced under natural sunlight, which
would broaden the water sorbent materials
As new technologies for water-energy nexus
applications are developed and mature, they
will inspire developments of new materials
and application areas. Materials for daytime
radiative cooling that help reduce the amount
of energy needed for cooling buildings also
find use in atmospheric water capture and dew
collection.16,18 On the other hand, light and heat
trapping/spreading concepts and composite
materials developed for solar water desalination
technologies are now being adapted to engineer
ice-phobic surfaces that use solar energy to pre-
vent and mitigate ice formation.133,134 New com-
posite material systems are emerging to replace
the commonly used table salt in cloud-seeding
applications.23,135,136 Many nanostructured mate-
rials used to address the challenges in the water-
energy nexus continue to draw inspiration from
existing natural solutions to engineering spec-
tral selectivity, water wicking, vapor harvest-
ing, and other functionalities.71,79,96,97,113,137144
Many challenges in materials engineering still
remain, with the focus shifting to passive solar-
driven operation, self-cleaning capabilities, and
1. M.M. Mekonnen, A.Y. Hoekstra, Sci. Adv. 2, e1500323
2. M. Elimelech, W.A. Phillip, Science 333, 712 (2011).
3. M.A. Shannon, P.W. Bohn, M. Elimelech, J.G. Georgiadis,
B.J. Mariñas, A.M. Mayes, Nature 452, 301 (2008).
5. G.N. Tiwari, H.N. Singh, R. Tripathi, Sol. Energy 75,
367 (2003).
6. L.A. Weinstein, J. Loomis, B. Bhatia, D.M. Bierman,
E.N. Wang, G. Chen, Chem. Rev. 115, acs.chemrev.5b00397
7. S.V. Boriskina, M.A. Green, K. Catchpole, E. Yablonovitch,
M.C. Beard, Y. Okada, S. Lany, T. Gershon, A. Zakutayev,
M.H. Tahersima, V.J. Sorger, M.J. Naughton, K. Kempa,
M. Dagenais, Y. Yao, L. Xu, X. Sheng, N.D. Bronstein,
J. Rogers, A.P. Alivisatos, R.G. Nuzzo, J.M. Gordon, D.M. Wu,
M.D. Wisser, A. Salleo, J. Dionne, P. Bermel, J.-J. Greffet,
I. Celanovic, M. Soljacic, A. Manor, C. Rotschild, A. Raman,
L. Zhu, S. Fan, G. Chen, J. Opt. 18, 073004 (2016).
8. P. Bermel, K. Yazawa, J.L. Gray, X. Xu, A. Shakouri, Energy
Environ. Sci. 3, 2123 (2016).
9. L. Zhu, A.P. Raman, S. Fan, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.
112, 12282 (2015).
10. A.P. Raman, M.A. Anoma, L. Zhu, E. Rephaeli, S. Fan,
Nature 515, 540 (2014).
11. C.G. Granqvist, J. Appl. Phys. 52, 4205 (1981).
12. T.S. Eriksson, C.G. Granqvist, Appl. Opt. 21, 4381 (1982).
13. Y. Zhai, Y. Ma, S.N. David, D. Zhao, R. Lou, G. Tan, R. Yang, X. Yin, Science
355, 1062 (2017).
14. J. Kou, Z. Jurado, Z. Chen, S. Fan, A.J. Minnich, ACS Photonics 4, 626 (2017).
15. J.K. Tong, X. Huang, S.V. Boriskina, J. Loomis, Y. Xu, G. Chen, ACS Photonics
2, 769 (2015).
Figure 4. (a) Thermodynamic processes and energy balance in a oating solar still.84
(b, c) Thermal management and water path design strategies can increase solar still efciency.
(b) Vertical thermal isolation in mushroom structures reduces thermal losses.85 (c) Lateral
thermal concentration in perforated oating stills enables water boiling under illumination
by sunlight without any external optical concentrators.86 (d) Optimizing the ratio of wicking
and insulating surfaces mitigates effects of salt fouling and yields self-cleaning solar stills.40
Figure 5. Schematics of the working principle of an atmospheric water generator,126
based on the use of water sorbent materials such as metal–organic frameworks,
anhydrate salts, or deliquescent salts.
Downloaded from MIT Libraries, on 10 Jan 2019 at 17:08:44, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at
NaNomaterials for the water-eNergy Nexus
16. D. Beysens, M. Muselli, I. Milimouk, C. Ohayon, S. Berkowicz, E. Soyeux,
M. Mileta, P. Ortega, Energy 31, 2303 (2006).
17. T. Nilsson, Sol. Energy Mater. Sol. Cells 40, 23 (1996).
18. H. Guan, M. Sebben, J. Bennett, Urban Water J. 11, 175 (2014).
19. M.A. Al-Nimr, O. Haddad, Renew. Energy 13, 323 (1998).
20. F. Yu, H. Zhou, Y. Huang, J. Sun, F. Qin, J. Bao, W.A. Goddard, S. Chen,
Z. Ren, Nat. Commun. 9, 2551 (2018).
21. Y. Jin, J. Chang, Y. Shi, L. Shi, S. Hong, P. Wang, J. Mater. Chem. A (2018),
22. Y. Chen, Y. Zheng, Nanoscale 6, 7703 (2014).
23. Y. Tai, H. Liang, A. Zaki, N. El Hadri, A.M. Abshaev, B.M. Huchunaev,
S. Griffiths, M. Jouiad, L. Zou, ACS Nano 11, 12318 (2017).
24. W. Chen, S. Chen, T. Liang, Q. Zhang, Z. Fan, H. Yin, K.-W. Huang, X. Zhang,
Z. Lai, P. Sheng, Nat. Nanotechnol. 13, 345 (2018).
25. T. Maitra, M.K. Tiwari, C. Antonini, P. Schoch, S. Jung, P. Eberle, D. Poulikakos,
Nano Lett. 14, 172 (2014).
26. P.-C. Hsu, C. Liu, A.Y. Song, Z. Zhang, Y. Peng, J. Xie, K. Liu, C.-L. Wu,
P.B. Catrysse, L. Cai, S. Zhai, A. Majumdar, S. Fan, Y. Cui, Sci. Adv. 3,
e1700895 (2017).
27. H. Liu, A. Raza, A. Aili, J. Lu, A. AlGhaferi, T. Zhang, Sci. Rep. 6, 25414
28. C. Liu, D. Kong, P.-C. Hsu, H. Yuan, H.-W. Lee, Y. Liu, H. Wang, S. Wang, K. Yan,
D. Lin, P.A. Maraccini, K.M. Parker, A.B. Boehm, Y. Cui. Nat. Nanotechnol. 11,
1098 (2016).
29. J.B. Lee, S. Choi, J. Kim, Y.S. Nam, Nano Today 16, 61 (2017).
30. S. Chen, T. Takata, K. Domen, Nat. Rev. Mater. 2, 17050 (2017).
31. J.K. Stolarczyk, S. Bhattacharyya, L. Polavarapu, J. Feldmann, ACS Catal.
8, 3602 (2018).
32. M.G. Walter, E.L. Warren, J.R. McKone, S.W. Boettcher, Q. Mi, E.A. Santori,
N.S. Lewis, Chem. Rev. 110, 6446 (2010).
33. D. Dsilva Winfred Rufuss, S. Iniyan, L. Suganthi, P.A. Davies, Renew. Sustain.
Energy Rev. 63, 464 (2016).
34. S.V. Boriskina, J.K. Tong, W.-C. Hsu, B. Liao, Y. Huang, V. Chiloyan, G. Chen,
Nanophotonics 5, 134 (2016).
35. P. Bermel, J. Lee, J.D. Joannopoulos, I. Celanovic, M. Soljacic, Annu. Rev.
Heat Transf. 15, 231 (2012).
36. P. Bermel, S.V. Boriskina, Z. Yu, K. Joulain, Opt. Express 23, A1533 (2015).
37. F. Cao, Y. Huang, L. Tang, T. Sun, S.V. Boriskina, G. Chen, Z. Ren, Adv. Mater.
28, 10659 (2016).
38. A. Mojiri, R. Taylor, E. Thomsen, G. Rosengarten, Renew. Sustain. Energy Rev.
28, 654 (2013).
39. F. Cao, K. McEnaney, G. Chen, Z. Ren, Energy Environ. Sci. 7, 1615 (2014).
40. G. Ni, S.H. Zandavi, S.M. Javid, S.V. Boriskina, T.A. Cooper, G. Chen. Energy
Environ. Sci. 11, 1510 (2018).
41. A.E. Kabeel, S.A. El-Agouz, Desalination 276, 1 (2011).
42. V. Siva Reddy, S.C. Kaushik, K.R. Ranjan, S.K. Tyagi, Renew. Sustain. Energy
Rev. 27, 258 (2013).
43. G. Ni, N. Miljkovic, H. Ghasemi, X. Huang, S.V. Boriskina, C.T. Lin, J. Wang,
Y. Xu, Md M. Rahman, T.J. Zhang, G. Chen, Nano Energy 17, 290 (2015).
44. P.I. Cooper, Sol. Energy 15, 205 (1973).
45. J.B. Chou, Y. Xiang, Y. Yoonkyung, E. Lee, A. Lenert, V. Rinnerbauer, I. Celanovic ,
M. Soljacˇic´, N.X. Fang, E.N. Wang, S.-G. Kim, Adv. Mater. 26, 8041 (2014).
46. D. Kraemer, K. McEnaney, F. Cao, Z. Ren, G. Chen, Sol. Energy Mater. Sol.
Cells 132, 640 (2015).
47. T.P. Otanicar, S. Theisen, T. Norman, H. Tyagi, R.A. Taylor, Appl. Energy 140,
224 (2015).
48. C. Fei Guo, T. Sun, F. Cao, Q. Liu, Z. Ren, Light Sci. Appl. 3, e161 (2014).
49. M. Peters, J.C. Goldschmidt, P. Löper, B. Groß, J. Üpping, F. Dimroth,
R.B. Wehrspohn, B. Bläsi, Energies 3, 171 (2010).
50. Y.X. Yeng, J.B. Chou, V. Rinnerbauer, Y. Shen, S.-G. Kim, J.D. Joannopoulos,
M. Soljacic, I. Celanovic´, Opt. Express 22, 21711 (2014).
51. D. Kraemer, B. Poudel, H.-P. Feng, J.C. Caylor, B. Yu, X. Yan, Y. Ma, X. Wang,
D. Wang, A. Muto, K. McEnaney, M. Chiesa, Z. Ren, G. Chen, Nat. Mater. 10,
532 (2011).
52. M.A. Kats, S.J. Byrnes, R. Blanchard, M. Kolle, P. Genevet, J. Aizenberg,
F. Capasso, Appl. Phys. Lett. 103, 101104 (2013).
53. J.-Q. Xi, M.F. Schubert, J.K. Kim, E.F. Schubert, M. Chen, S.-Y. Lin, W. Liu,
J.A. Smart, Nat. Photonics 1, 176 (2007).
54. J.Y. Lu, S.H. Nam, K. Wilke, A. Raza, Y.E. Lee, A. AlGhaferi, N.X. Fang, T. Zhang ,
Adv. Opt. Mater. 4, 1255 (2016).
55. L. Zhou, Y. Tan, J. Wang, W. Xu, Y. Yuan, W. Cai, S. Zhu, J. Zhu, Nat. Photonics
10, 393 (2016).
56. L. Zhou, Y. Tan, D. Ji, B. Zhu, P. Zhang, J. Xu, Q. Gan, Z. Yu, J. Zhu, Sci. Adv.
2, e1501227 (2016).
57. J.Y. Lu, A. Raza, S. Noorulla, A.S. Alketbi, N.X. Fang, G. Chen, T. Zhang,
Adv. Opt. Mater. 5, 1700222 (2017).
58. T.M. Tillotson, L.W. Hrubesh, J. Non. Cryst. Solids 145, 44 (1992).
59. L. Zhao, S. Yang, B. Bhatia, E. Strobach, E.N. Wang, AIP Adv. 6, 025123
60. L.A. Weinstein, K. McEnaney, E. Strobach, S. Yang, B. Bhatia, L. Zhao,
Y. Huang, J. Loomis, F. Cao, S.V. Boriskina, Z. Ren, E.N. Wang, G. Chen,
Joule 2, 962 (2018).
61. K. McEnaney, L. Weinstein, D. Kraemer, H. Ghasemi, G. Chen, Nano Energy
40, 180 (2017).
62. H.-Y. Chan, S.B. Riffat, J. Zhu, Renew. Sustain. Energy Rev. 14, 781 (2010).
63. E. Rephaeli, A. Raman, S. Fan, Nano Lett. 13, 1457 (2013).
64. M.M. Hossain, M. Gu, Adv. Sci. 3, 1500360 (2016).
65. T.S. Eriksson, E.M. Lushiku, C.G. Granqvist, Sol. Energy Mater. 11, 149
66. L. Zhu, A. Raman, K.X. Wang, M.A. Anoma, S. Fan, Optica 1, 32 (2014).
67. Z. Chen, L. Zhu, A. Raman, S. Fan, Nat. Commun. 7, 13729 (2016).
68. S.H. Zandavi, Y. Huang, G. Ni, R. Pang, R.M. Osgood III, P. Kamal, A. Jain,
G. Chen, S.V. Boriskina, in Frontiers in Optics 2017, OSA Technical Digest
Series (online) (Optical Society of America, 2017), paper FM4D.6, doi:10.1364/
69. P.-C. Hsu, A.Y. Song, P.B. Catrysse, C. Liu, Y. Peng, J. Xie, S. Fan, Y. Cui.
Science 353, 1019 (2016).
70. S.V. Boriskina, Science 353, 986 (2016).
71. S.V. Boriskina, H. Zandavi, B. Song, Y. Huang, G. Chen, Opt. Photonics News
28, 26 (2017).
72. Y. Peng, J. Chen, A.Y. Song, P.B. Catrysse, P.-C. Hsu, L. Cai, B. Liu, Y. Zhu,
G. Zhou, D.S. Wu, H.R. Lee, S. Fa, Y. Cui, Nat. Sustain. 1, 105 (2018).
73. S. Jafar-Zanjani, M.M. Salary, H. Mosallaei, ACS Photonics 4, 915 (2017).
74. A. Raza, J.-Y. Lu, S. Alzaim, H. Li, T.J. Zhang, Energies 11, 253 (2018).
75. O. Neumann, A.S. Urban, J. Day, S. Lal, P. Nordlander, N.J. Halas, ACS Nano
7, 42 (2013).
76. H. Ghasemi, G. Ni, A.M. Marconnet, J. Loomis, S. Yerci, N. Miljkovic, G. Chen,
Nat. Commun. 5, 1 (2014).
77. L. Zhang, B. Tang, J. Wu, R. Li, P. Wang, Adv. Mater. 27, 4889 (2015).
78. C. Chang, C. Yang, Y. Liu, P. Tao, C. Song, W. Shang, J. Wu, T. Deng, ACS Appl.
Mater. Interfaces 8, 23412 (2016).
79. S. Zhuang, L. Zhou, W. Xu, N. Xu, X. Hu, X. Li, G. Lv, Q. Zheng, S. Zhu,
Z. Wang, J. Zhu, Adv. Sci. 5, 1700497 (2018).
80. M. Gao, P.K.N. Connor, G.W. Ho, Energy Environ. Sci. 495, 305 (2016).
81. X. Wang, Y. He, X. Liu, G. Cheng, J. Zhu, Appl. Energy 195, 414 (2017).
82. X. Li, J. Li, J. Lu, N. Xu, C. Chen, X. Min, B. Zhu, H. Li, L. Zhou, S. Zhu,
T.J. Zhang, J. Zhu, Joule 2, 1331 (2018).
83. C. Liu, J. Huang, C.-E. Hsiung, Y. Tian, J. Wang, Y. Han, A. Fratalocchi,
Adv. Sustain. Syst. 1, 1600013 (2017).
84. P. Wang, Environ. Sci. Nano 5, 1078 (2018).
85. N. Xu, X. Hu, W. Xu, X. Li, L. Zhou, S. Zhu, J. Zhu, Adv. Mater. 29, 1606762
86. G. Ni, G. Li, S.V. Boriskina, H. Li, W. Yang, T. Zhang, G. Chen, Nat. Energy
1, 16126 (2016).
87. N.J. Hogan, A.S. Urban, C. Ayala-Orozco, A. Pimpinelli, P. Nordlander,
N.J. Halas, Nano Lett. 14, 4640 (2014).
88. Z. Wang, Y. Liu, P. Tao, Q. Shen, N. Yi, F. Zhang, Q. Liu, C. Song, D. Zhang,
W. Shang, T. Deng, Small 10, 3234 (2014).
89. L. Tian, J. Luan, K.-K. Liu, Q. Jiang, S. Tadepalli, M.K. Gupta, R.R. Naik,
S. Singamaneni, Nano Lett. 16, 609 (2015).
90. D. Zhao, H. Duan, S. Yu, Y. Zhang, J. He, X. Quan, P. Tao, W. Shang, J. Wu,
C. Song, T. Deng, Sci. Rep. 5, 17276 (2015).
91. S.V. Boriskina, T.A. Cooper, L. Zeng, G. Ni, J.K. Tong, Y. Tsurimaki, Y. Huang,
L. Meroueh, G. Mahan, G. Chen, Adv. Opt. Photonics 9, 775 (2017).
92. S.V. Boriskina, H. Ghasemi, G. Chen, Mater. Today 16, 375 (2013).
93. A.S. Nafey, M. Abdelkader, A. Abdelmotalip, A.A. Mabrouk, Energy Convers.
Manag. 43, 937 (2002).
94. Y. Liu, J. Chen, D. Guo, M. Cao, L. Jiang, ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 7,
13645 (2015).
95. Y. Ito, Y. Tanabe, J. Han, T. Fujita, K. Tanigaki, M. Chen, Adv. Mater. 27,
4302 (2015).
96. K.-K. Liu, Q. Jiang, S. Tadepalli, R. Raliya, P. Biswas, R.R. Naik, S. Singamaneni,
ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 9, 7675 (2017).
97. F. Chen, A.S. Gong, M. Zhu, G. Chen, S.D. Lacey, F. Jiang, Y. Li, Y. Wang, J. Dai,
Y. Yao, J. Song, B. Liu, K. Fu, S. Das, L. Hu, ACS Nano 11, 4275 (2017).
98. S. Hong, Y. Shi, R. Li, C. Zhang, Y. Jin, P. Wang, ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces
10, 28517 (2018).
99. O. Neumann, C. Feronti, A.D. Neumann, A. Dong, K. Schell, B. Lu, E. Kim, M.
Quinn, S. Thompson, N. Grady, P. Nordlander, M. Oden, N.J. Halas, Proc. Natl.
Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 110, 11677 (2013).
100. T.A. Cooper, S.H. Zandavi, G.W. Ni, Y. Tsurimaki, Y. Huang, S.V. Boriskina,
G. Chen, Nat. Commun. 9, 5086 (2018).
101. K.J. Ferrar, D.R. Michanowicz, C.L. Christen, N. Mulcahy, S.L. Malone,
R.K. Sharma, Environ. Sci. Technol. 47, 3472 (2013).
Downloaded from MIT Libraries, on 10 Jan 2019 at 17:08:44, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at
NaNomaterials for the water-eNergy Nexus
102. T. Sirivedhin, L. Dallbauman, Chemosphere 57, 463 (2004).
103. B. Van der Bruggen, C. Vandecasteele, Environ. Pollut. 122, 435 (2003).
104. P. Yang, K. Liu, Q. Chen, J. Li, J. Duan, G. Xue, Z. Xu, W. Xie, J. Zhou,
Energy Environ. Sci. 10, 1923 (2017).
105. F. Zhao, X. Zhou, Y. Shi, X. Qian, M. Alexander, X. Zhao, S. Mendez, R. Yang,
L. Qu, G. Yu, Nat. Nanotechnol. 13, 489 (2018).
106. Y. Shi, R. Li, Y. Jin, S. Zhuo, L. Shi, J. Chang, S. Hong, K.-C. Ng, P. Wang,
Joule 2, 1171 (2018).
107. P.D. Dongare, A. Alabastri, S. Pedersen, K.R. Zodrow, N.J. Hogan, O. Neumann,
J. Wu, T. Wang, A. Deshmukh, M. Elimelech, Q. Li, P. Nordlander, N.J. Halas,
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 114, 6936 (2017).
108. A. Politano, P. Argurio, G. Di Profio, V. Sanna, A. Cupolillo, S. Chakraborty,
H.A. Arafat, E. Curcio, Adv. Mater. 29, 1603504 (2017).
109. E. Chiavazzo, M. Morciano, F. Viglino, M. Fasano, P. Asinari, arXiv:1702.05422v3
110. S.H. Schneider, T.L. Root, M.D. Mastrandrea, Encyclopedia of Climate and
Weather, 2nd ed. (Oxford University Press, New York, 2011).
111. WWAP (United Nations World Water Assessment Programme), The United
Nations World Water Development Report 2015: Water for a Sustainable World
(UNESCO, Paris, 2015).
112. L. Zhang, J. Wu, M.N. Hedhili, X. Yang, P. Wang, J. Mater. Chem. A 3,
2844 (2015).
113. J. Ju, H. Bai, Y. Zheng, T. Zhao, R. Fang, L. Jiang, Nat. Commun. 3,
1247 (2012).
114. K.-C. Park, S.S. Chhatre, S. Srinivasan, R.E. Cohen, G.H. McKinley, Langmuir
29, 13269 (2013).
115. Y. Wang, X. Wang, C. Lai, H. Hu, Y. Kong, B. Fei, J.H. Xin, ACS Appl. Mater.
Interfaces 8, 2950 (2016).
116. Y. Hou, Y. Chen, Y. Xue, Y. Zheng, L. Jiang, Langmuir 28, 4737 (2012).
117. M.J. Estrela, J.A. Valiente, D. Corell, M.M. Millán, Atmos. Res. 87, 324
118. J. Olivier, C. de Rautenbach, Atmos. Res. 64, 227 (2002).
119. T.A. McHugh, E.M. Morrissey, S.C. Reed, B.A. Hungate, E. Schwartz,
Sci. Rep. 5, 13767 (2015).
120. R.V. Wahlgren, Water Res. 35, 1 (2001).
121. E.D. Wikramanayake, O. Ozkan, V. Bahadur, Energy 138, 647 (2017).
122. H. Kim, S.R. Rao, E.A. Kapustin, L. Zhao, S. Yang, O.M. Yaghi, E.N. Wang,
Nat. Commun. 9, 1191 (2018).
123. H. Kim, S. Yang, S.R. Rao, S. Narayanan, E.A. Kapustin, H. Furukawa,
A.S. Umans, O.M. Yaghi, E.N. Wang, Science 356, 430 (2017).
124. J.G. Ji, R.Z. Wang, L.X. Li, Desalination 212, 176 (2007).
125. J.Y. Wang, J.Y. Liu, R.Z. Wang, L.W. Wang, Appl. Therm. Eng. 127, 1608
126. R. Li, Y. Shi, L. Shi, M. Alsaedi, P. Wang, Environ. Sci. Technol. 52, 5398 (2018).
127. R. Li, L. Zhang, L. Shi, P. Wang, ACS Nano 11, 3752 (2017).
128. Y. Liu, S. Yu, R. Feng, A. Bernard, Y. Liu, Y. Zhang, H. Duan, W. Shang,
P. Tao, C. Song, T. Deng, Adv. Mater. 27, 2768 (2015).
129. H.T. Chua, K.C. Ng, A. Chakraborty, N.M. Oo, M.A. Othman, J. Chem. Eng. Data
7, 1177 (2002).
130. Y. Wang, M.D. LeVan, J. Chem. Eng. Data 54, 2839 (2009).
131. R. Desai, M. Hussain, D.M. Ruthven, Can. J. Chem. Eng. 70, 699 (2009).
132. D.K. Nandakumar, S.K. Ravi, Y. Zhang, N. Guo, C. Zhang, S.C. Tan, Energy
Environ. Sci. 11, 2179 (2018).
133. E. Mitridis, T.M. Schutzius, A. Sicher, C.U. Hail, H. Eghlidi, D. Poulikakos,
ACS Nano 12, 7009 (2018).
134. S. Dash, J. de Ruiter, K.K. Varanasi, Sci. Adv. 4, eaat0127 (2018).
135. J.R. French, K. Friedrich, S.A. Tessendorf, R.M. Rauber, B. Geerts,
R.M. Rasmussen, L. Xue, M.L. Kunkel, D.R. Blestrud, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci.
U.S.A. 115, 1168 (2018).
136. J.M. Fisher, M.L. Lytle, M.L. Kunkel, D.R. Blestrud, N.W. Dawson, S.K.
Parkinson, R. Edwards, S.G. Benner, Adv. Meteorol. 2018, 7293987 (2018).
137. Q. Fu, F. Ansari, Q. Zhou, L.A. Berglund, ACS Nano 12, 2222 (2018).
138. H. Liu, C. Chen, H. Wen, R. Guo, N.A. Williams, B. Wang, F. Chen, L. Hu,
J. Mater. Chem. A 6, 18839 (2018).
139. H. Zhu, Z. Guo, W. Liu, Chem. Commun. 52, 3863 (2016).
140. N.N. Shi, C.-C. Tsai, F. Camino, G.D. Bernard, N. Yu, R. Wehner, Science
349, 298 (2015).
141. Q. Willot, P. Simonis, J.-P. Vigneron, S. Aron, M. Rassart, T. Seldrum, PLoS One
11, e0152325 (2016).
142. L. Cortese, L. Pattelli, F. Utel, S. Vignolini, M. Burresi, D.S. Wiersma,
Adv. Opt. Mater. 3, 1337 (2015).
143. A. Ruiz-Clavijo, Y. Tsurimaki, O. Caballero-Calero, G. Ni, G. Chen, S.V.
Boriskina, M. Martín-González, ACS Photonics 5, 2120 (2018).
144. L. Zhai, M.C. Berg, F.Ç. Cebeci, Y. Kim, J.M. Milwid, M.F. Rubner, R.E. Cohen,
Nano Lett. 6, 1213 (2006).
145. Y. Zeng, J. Yao, B.A. Horri, K. Wang, Y. Wu, D. Li, H. Wang, Energy Environ.
Sci. 4, 4074 (2011).
Svetlana V. Boriskina is a research scientist in
the Department of Mechanical Engineering at
the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She
received her PhD degree in physics and mathe-
matics from Kharkiv National University, Ukraine.
She previously worked as a research fellow at The
University of Nottingham, UK, and Boston Uni-
versity. Her research focuses on the develop-
ment of smart fabrics for thermal comfort, new
metamaterials to manipulate light in unusual
ways, and solar-harvesting platforms to provide
clean energy and fresh water to off-grid and
disaster-stricken communities. Boriskina has
authored 110 publications, served as the princi-
pal investigator (PI) or co-PI on multiple US Department of Defense, US Depart-
ment of Energy, and NATO-funded projects, and holds many patents on sensor,
energy-conversion, and desalination systems. She is currently a director-at-
large at The Optical Society, and an associate editor of Optics Express and the
Journal of Optics. Boriskina can be reached by email at
Aikifa Raza is a research scientist in the
Department of Mechanical and Materials Engi-
neering of the Masdar Institute, Khalifa Univer-
sity of Science and Technology, United Arab
Emirates. Her research interests include nano-/
microfabrication and characterization for solar-
thermal applications and the characterization of
interfacial adhesive forces between different
materials using the quantum nanomechanical
atomic force microscopic approach. She has
published more than 30 peer-reviewed papers
and five book chapters. Raza can be reached by
email at
TieJun (TJ) Zhang is an associate professor
of mechanical and materials engineering at the
Masdar Institute, Khalifa University of Science
and Technology, United Arab Emirates (UAE).
He was a visiting assistant professor at the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a
postdoctoral research associate at the Rensselaer
Polytechnic Institute. He received the UAE
National Research Foundation University-Industry
Research Collaboration Award, and served as
the PI of multiple research projects on energy
and micro/nanotechnologies. He has authored
more than 130 publications on phase-change
heat transfer and microfluidics, nanomaterials
synthesis and advanced microfabrication, solar-power generation and refrigera-
tion cooling, subsurface multiphase flow and water treatment, and energy process
dynamics and control. He is a member of The American Society of Mechanical
Engineers (ASME) NanoEngineering for Energy and Sustainability Steering
Committee and ASME Heat Transfer Division K18 Technical Committee. Zhang
can be reached by email at
Peng Wang is an associate professor of environ-
mental science and engineering at King Abdullah
University of Science and Technology (KAUST),
Saudi Arabia. He is affiliated with the Water
Desalination and Reuse Center and KAUST Solar
Center. His research interests include nano-
photothermal material-assisted solar desalination,
atmospheric water harvesting, smart materials-
enabled solar cooling, oil/water separation, and
energy harvesting. He has published more than
70 papers in prestigious journals and three
academic books, and is on the advisory board
of Advanced Sustainable Systems. Wang can be
reached by email at
Downloaded from MIT Libraries, on 10 Jan 2019 at 17:08:44, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at
Lin Zhou is an associate professor of quantum
electronics and optics engineering in the College
of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Nanjing
University, China. She is also a research scientist
at Columbia University. Her research interests lie in
nanophotonics, plasmonics, and related energy-
conversion systems. Her current research focus-
es on nanophotonics design of plasmonic micro-
structures for solar-thermal conversion, and
emerging materials for solar absorbers, solar
desalination, and solar thermo-photovoltaics.
She has published more than 40 peer-reviewed
papers and one book chapter. Zhou can be
reached by email at .
Jia Zhu is a professor in the College of Engineer-
ing and Applied Sciences at Nanjing University,
China. He received his MS and PhD degrees in
electrical engineering from Stanford University,
and worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the Uni-
versity of California, Berkeley, and Lawrence
Berkeley National Laboratory. His scientifi c
research interests lie in the areas of nanomate-
rials, nanophotonics, and nanoscale heat transfer.
Zhu has received several prestigious awards,
including the OSA Young Investigator Award
(2017), Dupont Young Professor Award (2016),
MIT Technology Review TR35 Award (2016), and
the Recruitment Program of Global Experts
(2014). He has published more than 60 papers and delivered more than 40 keynote/
invited lectures at leading research institutions, international conferences, and the
US Department of Energy. He is an advisory board member of Molecular Systems
Design & Engineering . Zhu can be reached by email at .
2019 MRS Fall
Meeting & Exhibit
December 1–6
Boston, Massachusetts
XXVIII International Materials
Research Congress
August 18–23
Cancun, Mexico
2019 Meetings and Workshops Organized, Co-sponsored and/or Managed by the Materials Research Society
Managed by:
International Workshop on
Gallium Oxide and Other
Related Material (IWGO)*
August 12–15
Columbus, Ohio
Device Research
Conference (DRC)*
June 23–26
Ann Arbor, Michigan
International Conference
on Nitride Semiconductors
2019 (ICNS-13)*
July 7–12
Bellevue, Washington
2019 MRS Spring
Meeting & Exhibit
April 22–26
Phoenix, Arizona
Electronic Materials
Conference (EMC)*
June 26–28
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Universal Themes of
Bose-Einstein Condensation
Conference (UBEC)*
April 1–5
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Downloaded from MIT Libraries, on 10 Jan 2019 at 17:08:44, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at
... This evaporated water is then collected as condensed water (pure water), and this newly developed strategy has been proven as an advanced freshwater production strategy. Therefore, a series of such interfacial systems with proper photocatalytic photothermal designs have been demonstrated for highly efficient solar-driven freshwater production (Lin et al., 2019Djellabi et al., 2022;Boriskina et al., 2019;Xu et al., 2020a). For instance, Xu et al. (2020a) presented a solar-driven interfacial desalination system that can continuously produce freshwater via enhanced solar-driven water evaporation while floating on a saline water body, Fig. 3a-c (Xu et al., 2020a). ...
Photocatalysis appears to be an appealing approach for environmental remediation including pollutants degradation in water, air, and/or soil, due to the utilization of renewable and sustainable source of energy, i.e., solar energy. However, their broad applications remain lagging due to the challenges in pollutant degradation efficiency, large-scale catalyst production, and stability. In recent decades, massive efforts have been devoted to advance the photocatalysis technology for improved environmental remediation. In this review, the latest progress in this aspect is overviewed, particularly, the strategies for improved light sensitivity, charge separation, and hybrid approaches. We also emphasized the low efficiency and poor stability issues with the current photocatalytic systems. Finally, we provided future suggestions to further enhance the photocatalyst performance and lower its large-scale production cost. This review aims to provide valuable insights into the fundamental science and technical engineering of photocatalysis in environmental remediation.
... It is estimated that if the current rate of exploitation continues, in the year 2030, there will be a 40% water deficit worldwide, a deficit predicted to be greater in arid regions [3]. It is worth noting that, according to regional forecasts, the regions with greater solar radiation-Mexico, for instance-are the ones that will face severe droughts [4]. ...
Full-text available
This research paper presents a review of the state of the art of desalination in Mexico, with the aim of clarifying the main challenges and opportunity areas for desalination as the main solution to overcome water stress. First, the current situation and forecasts on the availability of water resources in Mexico are described, followed by the main economic, social, and legislative issues of desalination. Mexico’s installed capacity for the different desalination technologies and their evolution in recent years was investigated, followed by a comparison with global trends. The current state of research and development in desalination technologies carried out by Mexican institutions was also studied. The results show that membrane technology plants account for 88.85%, while thermal technology plants account for the remaining 11.15%. Although Mexico presented a 240% increase in its desalination capacity in the last 10 years, it has not been enough to overcome water stress, so it is concluded that in the future, it is necessary to increase its capacity in greater proportion, specifically in the areas with greater scarcity, which can be achieved with the joint participation of academy–industry–government through the creation of autonomous organizations, social programs, and/or public policies that promote it.
... Hence, our cost-effective and eco-friendly MEG demonstrates the viability of an uninterrupted, decentralized energy harvesting strategy that is less inhibited by environmental factors and geographical distributions compared to other sustainable energy generation methods. [40,41]. ...
Despite the recent boom in moisture-enabled electricity generation (MEG), it suffers from fabrication intricacy and materials inadequacy for water and energy harvesting purposes. Moreover, conventional MEGs face challenges in restricted operating humidity, inertness to subtle humidity fluctuations and inability to sustain long-lasting power output under high humidity due to limitations in hydrophilicity and hydration. Here, we exploit a unique oppositely-charged hydrogel heterojunction for electricity and fresh water harvesting from atmospheric air without trade-offs in process simplicity and humidity limits. This anion-cation heterostructure engages two oppositely polarized ions and features a self-regulating ionic gradient for MEG in a dynamically fluctuating ambient, making it not only capable of responding to sluggish and subtle humidity fluctuations but delivering undisrupted power even under extremely wet conditions. Different from other MEGs, moisture can be captured and largely stored in the hydrogel and then released as fresh water. This moisture absorption/desorption, interestingly, is accompanied by electricity generation, indicating a two-in-one strategy to address the water-energy nexus. In such a hydrogel heterojunction, multiple environmental elements like moisture, light, temperature, wind, etc., are feasibly mobilized for energy harvesting. This work provides a promising autonomous and continuous operation of an energy-water system for sustainable and decentralized purposes.
... So far, several desiccant materials including silica gel, zeolites, and metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) have been developed for AWH [37][38][39]. The maximum adsorption capacities are required for efficient water harvesting, and a steep uptake in between 10 and 30% relative humidity (i.e., Type IV or Type V isotherm) is desirable because it allows water adsorption at low relative humidity and allows regeneration of the materials under mild conditions [37,40,41]. However, conventional desiccant materials require high temperatures (>160 • C) to harvest the maximum amount of water [42,43]. ...
Full-text available
Atmospheric water harvesting (AWH) can provide clean and safe drinking water in remote areas. The present study provides a comprehensive review of adsorption-based AWH by using the scientometric approach. The publication types are mainly composed of articles and reviews, accounting for 75.37% and 11.19% of the total, respectively. Among these publications, ~95.1% were published in English and came from 154 different journals which demonstrates that researchers have shown a great interest in this field. However, much less contribution has been received thus far on this topic from Pakistan. Therefore, this study aims to explore a solar-driven adsorption-based AWH system in terms of varying relative humidity (RH), solar irradiance, and various types of adsorbent materials. Geospatial mapping and Monte Carlo simulations are carried out to integrate the operational parameters of the system and materials with Pakistan’s climatic conditions to forecast the AWH potential (L/m2/d). Probability distribution of 100,000 trials is performed by providing lower, mode, and upper values of the independent parameters. The possible outcomes of the adsorbed volume of water are determined by generating random values for the independent parameters within their specified distribution. It was found that MIL-101 (Cr) achieved the highest water-harvesting rate (WHR) of 0.64 to 3.14 (L/m2/d) across Pakistan, whereas the WHR was lowered to 0.58 to 1.59, 0.83 to 0.94, and 0.45 to 1.26 (L/m2/d) for COF-432, zeolite, and silica gel, respectively. Furthermore, parameter optimization and sensitivity analysis are performed to finalize the boundary conditions of the adsorption-based AWH system by ensuring the maximum volume values within the desired specification limits (1–4 L/m2/d).
Interfacial solar steam generation (ISSG) provides a sustainable approach of clean water production through desalination and water purification. It is still needed to pursue a fast evaporation rate, high-quality freshwater production, and low-cost evaporators. Herein, a three-dimensional (3D) bilayer aerogel was fabricated using cellulose nanofiber (CNF) as a skeleton filled with polyvinyl alcohol phosphate ester (PVAP), and carbon nanotubes (CNT) as a light absorbing material in the top layer. The CNF/PVAP/CNT aerogel (CPC) had broadband light absorption ability and exhibited an ultrafast water transfer rate. The lower thermal conductivity of CPC effectively confined the convert heat in the top surface and minimized heat loss. Additionally, a large amount of intermediate water caused by water activation decreased the evaporation enthalpy. Under 1 sun irradiation, the CPC-3 (3.0 cm height of CPC) achieved a high evaporation rate of 4.02 kg m-2 h-1 with an energy conversion efficiency of 125.1%. The additional convective flow and environmental energy made CPC achieve an ultrahigh evaporation rate of 11.37 kg m-2 h-1, surpassing 673% of the solar input energy. More importantly, the continuous solar desalination and higher evaporation rate (10.70 kg m-2 h-1) in seawater revealed that CPC was a promising candidate for practical desalination. Outdoor cumulative evaporation was up to 73.2 kg m-2 d-1 in weak sunlight and lower temperature, which would meet the daily drinking water demands of 20 people. The excellent cost-effectiveness of 1.085 L h-1 $-1 presented its potential for a wide range of practical applications, such as solar desalination, wastewater treatment, and metal extractions.
Full-text available
Sorbent-assisted AWH and moisture-enabled energy generation are reviewed in parallel to reveal the correlation between these two technologies.
Full-text available
Passive energy‐conversion devices based on water uptake and evaporation offer a robust and cost‐effective alternative in a wide variety of applications. This work introduces a new research avenue in the design of passive devices by replacing traditional porous materials with rigid capillary layers engraved with optimized V‐shaped grooves. The concept is tested using aluminum sheets, which are machined by femtosecond laser and covered by silica or functionalized by oxygen plasma to achieve stable long‐term capillary properties. The durability of the proposed material is experimentally evaluated when functioning with aqueous salt concentrations: both the coated and functionalized specimens exhibit stable wettability after being immersed in saltwater for all the duration of the experiments (≈250 h in this work). The proposed new class of materials is envisaged for use in passive solar or thermal energy‐conversion devices. As a case study, a time‐discretized capillary model is coupled with a validated lumped‐parameters heat and mass transfer model, aiming to estimate the maximum size and productivity of a passive solar distiller employing porous materials of known thermal and capillary properties. This study paves the way to the use of a new class of rigid, highly thermally conductive materials that can significantly improve the performance of passive devices by simplifying the assembly of multistage setups, thus helping to extend their use to real‐scale applications. Passive design based on water uptake and evaporation offers a robust and cost‐effective alternative in thermal energy‐conversion devices. This work introduces a novel interface for this application: aluminum sheets are equipped with optimized V‐shaped grooves, machined by femtosecond laser, and covered by silica or functionalized by oxygen plasma to achieve stable long‐term capillary properties (250+ h in this work).
Solar vapor generation is one of effective techniques in alleviating freshwater shortages. However, targeted gaps of high-efficient solar harvesting and fast evaporation rate still existed. In this work, the polyvinyl alcohol/biochar hydrogels (PBHs) with different water/PVA ratio were fabricated as the effective solar-driven vapor generator. The openly porous structure facilitated the intense capillary effect and water transport to PBH surface. Moreover, the proportion of intermediate water changed with the water/PVA ratio and further reduced the evaporation enthalpy. The solar absorber on the biochar interface confined the convective heat and reduced the heat loss. These properties induced the generation rate of PBH-10 achieving 1.89 kg m⁻² h⁻¹ with the solar-to-vapor convection efficiency of 85.2% under 1 sun irradiation. The thermal conduction well fitted to the heat distribution in the evaporation system according to COMSOL simulation. The rate of water vaporization by PBH-10 also maintained excellent performance in the salt rejection and wastewater purification containing different pollutants. It is anticipated that the PBH evaporator provided new possibilities in the clean water collection, desalination, and wastewater purification under natural sunlight.
Full-text available
Steam generation using solar energy provides the basis for many sustainable desalination, sanitization, and process heating technologies. Recently, interest has arisen for low-cost floating structures that absorb solar radiation and transfer energy to water via thermal conduction, driving evaporation. However, contact between water and the structure leads to fouling and pins the vapour temperature near the boiling point. Here we demonstrate solar-driven evaporation using a structure not in contact with water. The structure absorbs solar radiation and re-radiates infrared photons, which are directly absorbed by the water within a sub-100 μm penetration depth. Due to the physical separation from the water, fouling is entirely avoided. Due to the thermal separation, the structure is no longer pinned at the boiling point, and is used to superheat the generated steam. We generate steam with temperatures up to 133 °C, demonstrating superheated steam in a non-pressurized system under one sun illumination.
Full-text available
Solar steam generation is a promising solar energy conversion technology due to its potential applications in water treatment, liquid-liquid phase separation, and sterilization. Therefore, finding highly efficient solar-thermal conversion materials and structures is highly desirable. Here, we developed a membrane consisting of a narrow bandgap semiconductor of CuFeSe2 nanoparticles (NPs) decorated wood (coded as black wood membrane), for high-efficiency solar steam generation. The CuFeSe2 NPs display a desirable narrow bandgap of 0.45 eV, which can be used as a novel light absorber for highly efficient solar-thermal conversion. Wood served as the substrate for the CuFeSe2 NPs due to its excellent properties: a mesoporous structure, low density, heat-localization, low thermal conductivity, high hydrophilicity, and cost-effectiveness. All the properties of the designed CuFeSe2 NP-decorated wood membrane make it an ideal absorber for solar steam generation, allowing it to achieve a high solar thermal efficiency of 86.2% under 5 kW·m-2. Moreover, the CuFeSe2 NP-decorated wood membrane is cost-efficient and scalable, making it a fantastic material for various applications involving light absorption, photothermal conversion, and water purification.
Full-text available
Ice buildup is an operational and safety hazard in wind turbines, power lines, and airplanes. Traditional deicing methods, including mechanical and chemical means, are energy-intensive or environmentally unfriendly. Superhydrophobic anti-icing surfaces, while promising, can become ineffective due to frost formation within textures. We report on a “photothermal trap”—a laminate applied to a base substrate—that can efficiently deice by converting solar illumination to heat at the ice-substrate interface. It relies on the complementing properties of three layers: a selective absorber for solar radiation, a thermal spreader for lateral dispersal of heat, and insulation to minimize transverse heat loss. Upon illumination, thermal confinement at the heat spreader leads to rapid increase of the surface temperature, thereby forming a thin lubricating melt layer that facilitates ice removal. Lateral heat spreading overcomes the unavoidable shadowing of certain areas from direct illumination. We provide a design map that captures the key physics guiding illumination-induced ice removal. We demonstrate the deicing performance of the photothermal trap at very low temperatures, and under frost and snow coverage, via laboratory-scale and outdoor experiments.
Full-text available
Water electrolysis is an advanced energy conversion technology to produce hydrogen as a clean and sustainable chemical fuel, which potentially stores the abundant but intermittent renewable energy sources scalably. Since the overall water splitting is an uphill reaction in low efficiency, innovative breakthroughs are desirable to greatly improve the efficiency by rationally designing non-precious metal-based robust bifunctional catalysts for promoting both the cathodic hydrogen evolution and anodic oxygen evolution reactions. We report a hybrid catalyst constructed by iron and dinickel phosphides on nickel foams that drives both the hydrogen and oxygen evolution reactions well in base, and thus substantially expedites overall water splitting at 10 mA cm-2 with 1.42 V, which outperforms the integrated iridium (IV) oxide and platinum couple (1.57 V), and are among the best activities currently. Especially, it delivers 500 mA cm-2 at 1.72 V without decay even after the durability test for 40 h, providing great potential for large-scale applications.
Full-text available
Inhibiting ice accumulation on surfaces is an energy-intensive task and is of significant importance in nature and technology where it has found applications in windshields, automobiles, aviation, renewable energy generation, and infrastructure. Existing methods rely on on-site electrical heat generation, chemicals, or mechanical removal, with drawbacks ranging from financial costs to disruptive technical interventions and environmental incompatibility. Here we focus on applications where surface transparency is desirable and propose metasurfaces with embedded plasmonically enhanced light absorption heating, using ultra-thin hybrid metal–dielectric coatings, as a passive, viable approach for de-icing and anti-icing, in which the sole heat source is renewable solar energy. The balancing of transparency and absorption is achieved with rationally nano-engineered coatings consisting of gold nanoparticle inclusions in a dielectric (titanium dioxide), concentrating broadband absorbed solar energy into a small volume. This causes a > 10 °C temperature increase with respect to ambient at the air–solid interface, where ice is most likely to form, delaying freezing, reducing ice adhesion, when it occurs, to negligible levels (de-icing) and inhibiting frost formation (anti-icing). Our results illustrate an effective unexplored pathway towards environmentally-compatible, solar-energy-driven icephobicity, enabled by respectively tailored plasmonic metasurfaces, with the ability to design the balance of transparency and light absorption.
Full-text available
Structural colors are a result of the scattering of certain frequencies of the incident light on micro- or nanoscale features in a material. This is a quite different phenomenon from that of colors produced by absorption of different frequencies of the visible spectrum by pigments or dyes, which is the most common way of coloring used in our daily life. However, structural colors are more robust and can be engineered to span most of the visible spectrum without changing the base material, only its internal structure. They are abundant in nature, with examples as colorful as beetle shells and butterfly wings, but there are few ways of preparing them for large-scale commercial applications for real-world uses. In this work, we present a technique to create a full gamut of structural colors based on a low-cost, robust, and scalable fabrication of periodic network structures in porous alumina as well as the strategy to theoretically predict and engineer different colors on demand. We experimentally demonstrate mesoporous network metamaterial structures with engineered colors spanning the whole optical spectrum and discuss their applications in sensing, environmental monitoring, biomimetic tissues engineering, etc.
Solar steam generation, due to its capability of producing clean water directly by solar energy, is emerging as a promising eco-friendly and energy-efficient technology to address global challenges of water crisis and energy shortage. Although diverse materials and architectures have been explored to improve solar energy utilization, high efficiency in solar steam generation could be accomplished only with external optical and thermal management. For the first time, we report a deployable, three-dimensional (3D) origami-based solar steam generator capable of near full utilization of solar energy. This auxetic platform is designed based on Miura-ori tessellation and is able to efficiently recover radiative and convective heat loss as well as to trap solar energy via its periodic concavity pattern. The 3D solar steam generator device with a nanocarbon composite of graphene oxide and carbon nanotubes being photothermal component in this work shows a very strong dependence between its solar energy efficiency and surface areal density. The device yields an extraordinary solar energy efficiency close to 100% under 1 sun illumination at a highly folded configuration. The 3D origami device can withstand a great number of folding and unfolding cycles and shows unimpaired solar steam generation performances. The unique structural feature of the 3D origami structure offers a new insight into the future development of highly efficient and easily deployable solar steam generator.
Atmospheric humidity, an abundant source of water is widely considered as a redundant resource demanding expense of energy to maintain it under comfortable levels for human habitation. Till date there has only been few attempts to harness humidity for applications such as water collection and hygro-induced movements. Herein, we report an unprecedented moisture scavenging gel that is capable of absorbing around 230% of its weight with water from humid atmospheres. Additionally, the gel has humidity-triggered changes in optical, electrical and electrochemical properties that have been exploited for a wide range of applications such as thermo-hygroscopic window, infrared radiation (IR) blocking windscreen and construction of an electrochemical cell for energy harvesting. Integration of the thermo-hygroscopic window and IR blocking windscreen leads to extensive energy savings in buildings. Furthermore, the applicability of the gel as a conducting medium in flexible electronic substrates enables reusability of the printed circuit boards, mitigating the volume of solid electronic wastes and the energy required for their disposal. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first attempt at harnessing ambient humidity as a sustainable resource for energy conservation and harvesting.
For the first time, we demonstrated that careful structural designs can exploit environmental energy to enhance the performance of an interfacial solar vapor generation device to well above the theoretical limit of vapor output, assuming 100% solar-to-vapor energy transfer efficiency, under various light intensities. This concept can have direct implications in various important processes, such as wastewater treatment. Since interfacial solar vapor generation has garnered increasing interest, significant efforts have been made to tailor nanomaterials to achieve high solar-to-vapor transfer efficiency and high evaporation rate. It is generally considered that the evaporation rate is limited by solar irradiation, assuming 100% solar-to-vapor energy transfer efficiency. Here we report that the evaporation rate can be well above the assumed limit by exploiting energy input from the environment. This finding demonstrates a new route to enhance the evaporation rate to a higher level. For the environmental energy-enhanced interfacial solar vapor generator, through elegant structural designs, there will be a net energy gain from the environment during the solar vapor generation, yielding an evaporation rate exceeding the theoretical value, assuming a 100% solar-to-vapor energy transfer efficiency.
The energy efficiency in solar steam generation by 2D photothermal materials has approached its limit. In this work, we fabricated 3D cylindrical cup-shaped structures of mixed metal oxide as solar evaporator, and the 3D structure led to a high energy efficiency close to 100% under one-sun illumination due to the capability of the cup wall to recover the diffuse reflectance and thermal radiation heat loss from the 2D cup bottom. Additional heat was gained from the ambient air when the 3D structure was exposed under one-sun illumination, leading to an extremely high steam generation rate of 2.04 kg m⁻² h⁻¹. The 3D structure has a high thermal stability and shows great promise in practical applications including domestic wastewater volume reduction and seawater desalination. The results of this work inspire further research efforts to use 3D photothermal structures to break through the energy efficiency limit of 2D photothermal materials. Tapping into solar energy to produce clean water as well as to treat wastewater is a viable solution to the ongoing global challenges of water scarcity and clean energy shortage. Solar steam generation assisted by photothermal materials is an integral part of solar distillation and many water removal processes. The energy efficiency of 2D planar photothermal materials for solar steam generation has been pushed to its limit, with diffuse reflectance and thermal radiation accounting for the major energy loss therein. Here, we introduce a 3D cup-shaped photothermal structure capable of recovering most of the lost energy in 2D photothermal materials, thus breaking the energy limit of 2D materials. The solar steam generation rate of the 3D photothermal material is further improved by purposefully harvesting heat from the ambient air. The 3D cup-shaped solar evaporator achieves near 100% energy efficiency in solar steam generation, because its wall can efficiently reabsorb the diffuse reflectance and thermal radiation from its 2D bottom part. It also gains excess energy from the surroundings by keeping most of its wall cooler than its surroundings, even under one-sun illumination. The 3D design inspires further research efforts to use 3D structures to break through the energy efficiency limit of 2D photothermal materials.