Congratulations to Alex Mills '19 for winning Most Outstanding Undergraduate Poster Presentation at the 2019 Kentucky Water Resources Annual Symposium! Alex has been working with UK's Chemical Engineering department under professor Dr. Isabel Escobar and with PhD student Joyner Eke for a year and a half. The research pertains to water filtration through membranes dealing specifically with functionalizing the membrane with a novel 2-dimensional material called phosphorene. They used an exclusive 2-dimensional material to create a self-cleaning membrane for water filtration.
Phosphorene is a 1-atom thick layer version of black phosphorous. Phosphorene holds great potential to function as a photocatalyst. A photocatalyst is a material which derives energy from light and breaks down natural organic matter into CO2 and H2O. This is important for membrane fouling, or the build-up of contaminants on the membrane pores. When exposed to light, a membrane can become self-cleaning and break down all the built-up organic matter.