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    Interfacial solar evaporators (ISEs) for seawater desalination have garnered enormous attention in recent decades due to global water scarcity. Despite the progress in the energy conversion efficiency and production rate of ISE, the poor portability of large-area ISE during transportation as well as the clogging of water transport pathways by precipitated salts during operation remain grand challenges for its fielded applications. Here, we designed an ISE with high energy conversion efficiency and shape morphing capability by integrating carbon nanotube (CNT) fillers with a light-responsive shape memory polymer (SMP, cross-linked polycyclooctene (cPCO)). Utilizing the shape memory effect, our ISE can be folded to an origami with 1/9 of its original size to save space for transportation and allow for on-demand unfolding upon sunlight irradiation when deployed in service. In addition, the ISE is equipped with a real-time clogging monitoring function by measuring the capacitance of the electric double layer (EDL) formed at the evaporator/seawater nanointerface. Due to its good energy conversion efficiency, high portability, and clogging monitoring capability, we envisage our ISE as a promising selection in solar evaporation technologies.


    Lingyu Zhao, Liu Wang, Jidong Shi, Xingyu Hou, Qi Wang, Yuan Zhang, Yan Wang, Ningning Bai, Junlong Yang, Jianming Zhang, Bo Yu, Chuan Fei Guo. Shape-Programmable Interfacial Solar Evaporator with Salt-Precipitation Monitoring Function. ACS nano. 2021 Mar 23;15(3):5752-5761

    PMID: 33683874

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