The efficient treatment of the problem of air pollution is a practical issue related to human health. The development of multi-functional air treatment filters, which can remove various kinds of pollutants, including particulate matter (PM) and organic gases, is a tireless pursuit aiming to address the actual needs of humans. Advanced materials and nano-manufacturing technology have brought about the opportunity to change conventional air filters for practical demands, with the aim of achieving the high-efficiency utilization of photons, a strong catalytic ability, and the synergetic degradation of multi-pollutants. In this work, visible-responding photocatalytic air treatment filters were prepared and combined with a fast and cost-effective electrospinning process. Firstly, we synthesized Ag-loaded TiO2 nanorod composites with a controlled size and number of loaded Ag nanoparticles. Then, multi-functional air treatment filters were designed by loading catalysts on electrospinning nanofibers combined with a programmable brush. We found that such Ag-TiO2 nanorod composite-loaded nanofibers displayed prominent PM filtration (~90%) and the degradation of organic pollutants (above 90%). The superior performance of purification could be demonstrated in two aspects. One was the improvement of the adsorption of pollutants derived from the increase of the specific surface area after the loading of catalysts, and the other was the plasmonic hot carriers, which induced a broadening of the optical absorption in the visible light range, meaning that many more photons were utilized effectively. The designed air treatment filters with synergistic effects for eliminating both PM and organic pollutants have promising potential for the future design and application of novel air treatment devices.
Keywords: air pollution; air treatment filters; electrospinning; hot carriers; plasmon.