Post Doc.

Dr. Robert French

Faculty of Science & Technology
University of Twente, PO Box 217
Meander 227
7500 AE, Enschede
The Netherlands

Telephone: +31-53-489 4138
Fax: +31-53-489 2882


Photocatalytic reactions are an attractive prospect within the chemical industry due to the many potential applications including:

  • Treatment of waste water,
  • Treatment of polluted airstreams,
  • Organic synthetic processes.

However industrial implementation remains a challenge due to two major scaling-up problems:

  • The first is one of mass transport. Many studies have investigated optimisation of mass transport to the catalyst via spinning disc reactors, monolithic reactors and micro-reactors to great success.
  • The second challenge is that of photon transfer and is the main focus of this study.

Project Aims

A proof of concept project investigating local luminescence for the activation of catalyst sites in an intensified milli-photoreactor.

Local illuminescence, such as optical fibres and microscale illumination have improved photon transfer, however still fall short of industrial scale.

This project aims to push the ideas of local illuminescence to the next logical step by using nanoscale Illumination, where low-level luminescent nanoparticles are in close proximity to the catalyst increasing photon transfer with decreased light absorption by the bulk (Figure 1).

Pictures of illumination

Figure 1 (A) Conventional external photocatalytic illumination, (B) proposed nanoscale illumination concept.


Initial experimentation will consider the use of several nanoilluminescent structures including zinc oxide nanorods and GaN nanoparticles in close proximity to the photo catalyst TiO2 to demonstrate benefits of local luminescence. The second part of the project will consider how to implement local illumination with improved mass transport techniques.