Author ORCID Identifier

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. M. Samy El-Shall


Maintaining a constant supply of clean drinking water is among the most pressing global challenges in our time. About one-third of the population is affected by the water scarcity and it can only get worse with climate change, rapid industrialization, and the population growth. Even though nearly 70 percent of the planet is covered by water, the consumable freshwater content is only 2.5 percent of it. Unfortunately, the accessible portion of it is only 1 percent. Even so, most of the freshwater bodies are choked with pollution. Considering the vast availability of saline water on the planet and the increasing wastewater generation, seawater desalination, and wastewater treatment and recycling seem to have the potential to address current water-related issues. Therefore, it is necessary to find efficient techniques for seawater desalination and wastewater treatment. The use of nanostructured materials for these applications is becoming a popular approach due to the unique chemical and physical properties they possess compared to bulk materials

Solar energy is the cleanest and most abundant renewable natural resource available. Materials for solar photothermal energy conversion are highly sought after for their cost savings, clean environment, and broad utility in providing water heating and/or steam for many applications including domestic water heating and solar-driven desalination. Extensive research efforts have been made to develop efficient solar absorbers with characteristics such as low weight, low thermal conductivity, broad solar absorption and porosity to be able to float on water to provide more efficient and cost-effective solar steam generation systems. Metal NPs have been proposed to take advantage of the high efficiency of the photothermal energy conversion associated with surface plasmon resonance absorption. Nanostructured carbon-based materials such as graphene oxide, carbon nanotubes, carbonized biomass are also in use due to their excellent photothermal energy conversion ability over the range of the visible and near infra-red region of the electromagnetic spectrum.

In this dissertation, five projects based on the utility of nanostructured materials for desalination, photocatalysis and water treatment will be discussed. The first three projects involve the fabrication and design of plasmonic and carbon-based photothermal materials for applications in solar steam generation, water desalination, and wastewater treatment. In the fourth project, a unique shape of ZnO nanostructure was synthesized for photodegradation of organic dyes in industrial wastewater. The final project demonstrates the shape-controlled synthesis of iron carbide nanostructures and composite materials of aminated graphene oxide for the removal of Cr(VI) from wastewater.


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Available for download on Wednesday, May 08, 2024