Nanostructured Gallium Nitride Membrane at Wafer Scale for Photo(Electro)catalytic Polluted Water Remediation

Huafan Zhang, Jung Hong Min, Tae Hoon Chung, Kwangjae Lee, Paulraj Gnanasekar, Jung Wook Min, Tae Yong Park, Yue Wang, Tien Khee Ng, Udo Schwingenschlögl, Qiaoqiang Gan, Boon S. Ooi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Photo(electro)catalysis methods have drawn significant attention for efficient, energy-saving, and environmental-friendly organic contaminant degradation in wastewater. However, conventional oxide-based powder photocatalysts are limited to UV-light absorption and are unfavorable in the subsequent postseparation process. In this paper, a large-area crystalline-semiconductor nitride membrane with a distinct nanoporous surface is fabricated, which can be scaled up to a full wafer and easily retrieved after photodegradation. The unique nanoporous surface enhances broadband light absorption, provides abundant reactive sites, and promotes the dye-molecule reaction with adsorbed hydroxyl radicals on the surface. The superior electric contact between the nickel bottom layer and nitride membrane facilitates swift charge carrier transportation. In laboratory tests, the nanostructure membrane can degrade 93% of the dye in 6 h under illumination with a small applied bias (0.5 V vs Ag/AgCl). Furthermore, a 2 inch diameter wafer-scale membrane is deployed in a rooftop test under natural sunlight. The membrane operates stably for seven cycles (over 50 h) with an outstanding dye degradation efficiency (>92%) and satisfied average total organic carbon removal rate (≈50%) in each cycle. This demonstration thus opens the pathway toward the production of nanostructured semiconductor layers for large-scale and practical wastewater treatment using natural sunlight.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2205612
JournalAdvanced Science
Issue number6
StatePublished - Feb 24 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
H.Z. and J.‐H.M. contributed equally to this work. The work was supported by King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) baseline funding [BAS/1/1614‐01‐01 and BAS/1/1415‐01‐01] and impact acceleration grant [REI/1/4919‐01‐01]. H.Z. and P.G. gratefully acknowledge the discussion with Dr. M. Ghadiyali and Dr. M. Eswaran.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. Advanced Science published by Wiley-VCH GmbH.


  • III-nitride alloy
  • membrane
  • nanoporous
  • photocatalysis
  • photoelectrochemistry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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