Applied Catalysis B: Environmental, 2017, vol 209pp. 23-32
Conjugated polymer nanostructures have recently emerged as a new class of very active photocatalysts under solar light. Poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT) is one of the commonly used conjugated polymers for photovoltaics applications. P3HT nanostructures synthesized in soft templates provided by hexagonal mesophases show high photocatalytic activity for degradation of pollutants under both UV and visible light. These photocatalysts are very stable even after repeated cycling. Addition of scavengers and mechanistic studies show that O2− is the main radical responsible for degradation of phenol taken as a model pollutant. P3HT nanostructures can be easily deposited on flat supports such as quartz for photocatalytic applications avoiding a separation step by centrifugation. Most interestingly, the photocatalytic activity of these P3HT nanostructures is highly enhanced when they are supported on a solid surface opening new perspectives in photocatalytic reactors and self-cleaning surfaces.