Three-dimensional hierarchical CuxS-based evaporator for high-efficiency multifunctional solar distillation

Wei Huang (Corresponding author), Peiwu Su, Yang Cao, Chengcheng Li, Delun Chen, Xinlong Tian, Yaqiong Su, Bin Qiao, Jinchun Tu (Corresponding author), Xiaohong Wang (Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Solar distillation is a promising and sustainable technique for extracting clean water from seawater and/or wastewater. However, the fabrication of evaporators that can simultaneously exhibit high-efficiency, antifouling, and antibacterial properties remains a great challenge. Herein, we for the first time report the CuxS-based solar water evaporator by assembling and designing the dual-phase CuxS composite nanorods into three-dimensional (3D) hierarchical architecture foam with efficient light trapping, superhydrophilic and underwater superoleophobic properties. Owing to the enhanced synergistic photothermal conversion and the confined two-dimensional (2D) water path, the fabricated CuxS/Cu foam (SCF) evaporator can achieve extremely high water evaporation rate of 1.96 kg m−2 h−1 with energy efficiency of 94.5%, which is among the highest performance for inorganic semiconductor-based evaporators. The developed device can also maintain a high evaporation rate of 1.73 kg m−2 h−1, and an average rate of 5.2 L m−2 day−1 in a 30-day consecutive outdoor test, for producing clean water from oil-in-water emulsion with excellent antifouling, antibacterial, and ion rejection properties. As a proof-of-concept application, the CuxS-based evaporator is demonstrated to have superior capability for multiphase purification of clean water and organic solvent from dyed solutions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104465
Number of pages10
JournalNano Energy
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020


  • CuS composite
  • Hierarchical architectures
  • High-efficiency
  • Solar distillation
  • Synergistic photothermal conversion


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