"Another potential application is in the area of photocatalytic generation of solar fuels," Kamat says. "For example, having semiconductor nanoparticles on one side of a graphene sheet and a metal catalyst on the other side, one can create a hybrid assembly that can selectively split water into oxygen and hydrogen."
Another day and another use for graphene. Actually at least two, photocatalytic generation, which we’ll cover another day although feel free to comment, and low level but harmful chemical detection in drinking water, although it might equally be of use in industrial water recycling. Trace levels of contaminant’s is a serious problem where the trace contaminant might be any of the heavy metals or pollution from the local natural gas rig cutting corners now that the price of natural gas has collapsed.
We’ve covered some of graphene’s water properties before, motly along the lines of remediating the water by only allowing the contaminants through a graphene sieve. This work by the University of Notre Dame extends graphene’s likely future use in our water supplies. And not just in the third world either. A study released last year by the U.S. Geological Survey found more than 20% of water samples from untreated public wells in the USA had “at least one contaminant at levels of potential health concern.” Thanks to graphene, by decade’s end we are likely to see big improvements to much of the world’s potable water supply. If nothing else it will bring massive water handling efficiency to the shipping industry.
Sensors Detect Contaminants in Water in Low Concentrations
ScienceDaily (June 6, 2012) — Many organic contaminants in the air and in drinking water need to be detected at very low-level concentrations. Research published by the laboratory of Prashant V. Kamat, the John A. Zahm Professor of Science at the University of Notre Dame, could be beneficial in detecting those contaminants.
The Kamat laboratory uses Surface-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy to make use of silver nanoparticles to increase the sensitivity limit of chemical detection. Researchers in this study have prepared a semiconductor-graphene-metal film that has distinct advantages: The absorption of organic molecules on the film's graphene surface increases the local contaminant concentration adjacent to silver nanoparticles.
The researchers have investigated the use of graphene oxide films in which the semiconductor titanium dioxide (TiO2) and metal nanoparticles are deposited on opposite sides of the graphene surface.
Large Number of Public Wells in U.S. Have Potentially Harmful Contaminants in Source Water, Study Finds
ScienceDaily (May 21, 2010) — More than 20 percent of untreated water samples from 932 public wells across the nation contained at least one contaminant at levels of potential health concern, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey.
About 105 million people — or more than one-third of the nation's population — receive their drinking water from one of the 140,000 public water systems across the United States that rely on groundwater pumped from public wells.