An Easy-to-Fabricate 2.5D Evaporator for Efficient Solar Desalination

Xiaojie Liu, Yanpei Tian, Fangqi Chen, Andrew Caratenuto, Joseph A. DeGiorgis, Mohamed ELSonbaty, Yinsheng Wan, Ralph Ahlgren, Yi Zheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Solar-driven steam generation, whereby solar energy is harvested to purify water directly, is emerging as a promising approach to mitigate the worldwide water crisis. The scalable application of conventional 3D evaporators is hindered by their complex spatial geometries. A 2.5D structure is a spatial extension of a 2D structure with an addition of a third vertical dimension, achieving both the feasibility of 2D structure and the performance of 3D structure simultaneously. Here, an interconnected open-pore 2.5D Cu/CuO foam-based photothermal evaporator capable of achieving a high evaporation rate of 4.1 kg m−2 h−1 under one sun illumination by exposing one end of the planar structure to air is demonstrated. The micro-sized open-pore structure of Cu/CuO foam allows it to trap incident sunlight, and the densely distributed blade-like CuO nanostructures effectively scatter sunlight inside pores simultaneously. The inherent hydrophilicity of CuO and capillarity forces from the porous structure of Cu foam continuously supply sufficient water. Moreover, the doubled working sides of Cu/CuO foam enlarge the exposure area enabling efficient vapor diffusion. The feasible fabrication process and the combined structural features of Cu/CuO foam offer new insight into the future development of solar-driven evaporators in large-scale applications with practical durability.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAdvanced Functional Materials
Issue number27
StatePublished - Jul 1 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials


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