Entangled ZnO on Ultrathin Hollow Fibers for UV-Aided Pollutant Decomposition

Xi Wang, Shaojun Xu, Evelyn Chalmers, Xiaogang Chen, Yong Liu, Xuqing Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Zinc oxide (ZnO), a widely used ultraviolet (UV) degrading substance, offers high selectivity for wastewater treatment, but the leaching of ZnO into water could cause secondary contamination. Using porous substrates to fix and load ZnO is a promising technical method to improve the water purification efficiency and recycling durability of ZnO. However, limited by the slow kinetics and shielding effects, it is challenging to use traditional techniques to introduce ZnO into the interior of a hollow structure. Here, inspired by an ancient dyeing procedure, we formed a unique single-molecule bio-interfacial entanglement as an absorption layer to capture the catalyst for ZnO electroless deposition (ELD) on the surface of natural ultrathin hollow-structured Kapok fibers. With curcumin serving as a linking bridge, ELD allowed the spontaneous formation of intensive ZnO nanocrystals on both the outer and inner walls. ZnO-kapok as the catalyst for ultraviolet photodecomposition of organic pollutants (methylene blue (MB) and phenol as model pollutants) delivered a decomposition efficiency of 80% and outstanding durability. Further modification of the ZnO-kapok catalyst by doping with reduced graphene oxide (rGO) showed an improvement in photodegradation performance of 90% degradation under 2-h irradiation with 21.85 W/dm 2 light power. Moreover, to the best of our knowledge, this is the first report featuring ZnO loading on both the outer and inner walls of a fiber-structured hollow kapok material, which provides inspiration for immobilization of metallic oxides on hollow-structured materials for further applications in renewable catalysis, chemical engineering, and energy storage fields.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10769-10781
Number of pages13
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number8
Early online date21 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - 2 Mar 2022


  • curcumin interfacial functionalization
  • electroless deposition
  • natural hollow fiber substrate
  • wastewater
  • zinc oxide


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