Researchers at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, have developed a cheap and efficient way to grow special nanostructures—that degrade organic matter when exposed to light—directly onto textiles.
Textiles, which already have a 3D structure that absorbs light, are ideal for the process. When the nanostructures are exposed to light, they create “hot electrons” that enable them to degrade organic matter, such as tomato sauce or wine. RMIT’s approach involved growing nanostructures onto textiles by dipping them into a few solutions, which, within 30 minutes, resulted in the development of stable nanostructures. When exposed to light, it took less than six minutes for some of the nano-enhanced textiles to spontaneously clean themselves.
The process leads the way toward textiles that spontaneously clean themselves of stains by exposure to sunlight or indoor light treatment.