Prof. Hersam\'s work with titania (TiO2) catalysts and graphene has demonstrated increased photocatalytic conversion efficiency and increased throughput compared to prior titania or titania-composite catalysts. Titania catalysts are a growing tool for the decomposition of hazardous organic chemicals. In the presence of ultraviolet (UV) light titania generates hydroxyl radicals that break down pesticides industrial solvents odor and taste compounds as well as destroying many pathogenic microorganisms. Applications include waste water treatment industrial air filtering systems and combustion gas scrubbing. Prof. Hersam\'s approach has minimized the defect density of the graphene-titania composite thereby increasing the effective photo-capture area of the catalyst. In this manner the photocatalytic conversion efficiency is improved not only for UV but also visible light. Proto-type catalysts have been produced and a field trial in water treatment for offshore oil platforms is being planned.
1) Increased photo-capture area of catalyst. 2) Improved conversion efficiency for UV and visible light.