Herein, a photothermal nanoconfinement reactor (PNCR) system is proposed and demonstrated by using hollow carbon nanospheres (HCN) to enhance the performance of chemical reaction. Under light irradiation, the local temperature of HCN inner void space was much higher than the bulk solution temperature because the confined space concentrates heat and inhibits heat loss. Using a temperature sensitive model reaction, peroxydisulfate (PDS) activation to oxidize micropollutant, it is shown that the degradation rate of sulfamethoxazole in the PNCR system was 7.1 times of those without nanoconfinement. It is further discovered that the high-quality local heat inside the nanoconfined space shifted the model reaction from an otherwise non-radical pathway to a radical-based pathway in the presence of the confinement. This work provides an interesting strategy to produce locally high temperature which has a wide range of applications to energy and environmental fields.
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