Fuel-Free Light-Powered TiO2/Pt Janus Micromotors for Enhanced Nitroaromatic Explosives Degradation
- Lei Kong, Carmen C. Mayorga-Martinez, Jianguo Guan*, Martin Pumera*
Nitroaromatic explosives such as 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (2,4,6-TNT) and 2,4-dinitrotoluene (2,4-DNT) are two common nitroaromatic compounds in ammunition. Their leakage leads to serious environmental pollution and threatens human health. It is important to remove or decompose them rapidly and efficiently. In this work, we present that light-powered TiO2/Pt Janus micromotors have high efficiency for the "on-the-fly" photocatalytic degradation of 2,4-DNT and 2,4,6-TNT in pure water under UV irradiation. The redox reactions, induced by photogenerated holes and electrons on the TiO2/Pt Janus micromotor surfaces, produce a local electric field that propels the micromotors as well as oxidative species that are able to photodegrade 2,4-DNT and 2,4,6-TNT. Furthermore, the moving TiO2/Pt Janus micromotors show an efficient degradation of nitroaromatic compounds as compared to the stationary ones thanks to the enhanced mixing and mass transfer in the solution by movement of these micromotors. Such fuel-free light-powered micromotors for explosive degradation are expected to find a way to environmental remediation and security applications.
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