Updated April. 21, 2014 05:20
Titanium dioxide, which is widely used as various pigments, cosmetics material, and colors, is drawing attention recently due to its utility for defogging products. The reason is if this material absorbs light, it generates ultra-hydrophilic property that causes it to widely dissipate moisture rather than form water vapors on the surface. Why titanium dioxide has this property was not scientifically identified before, which posed a stumbling block to development of applied products with the substance.
A team lead by Je Won-ho, a professor of Physics and Astronomy Department at Seoul National University, said on Sunday it has identified the scientific mechanism of how titanium dioxide comes to gain ultra-hydrophilic property when being exposed to light. By applying this principle, scientists will be able to produce glass for automobiles and vessels that allows clear visibility through windshield glass even without wipers, which will likely be helpful for safe driving of vehicles.
Prof. Jes team conducted various tests repeatedly, examining titanium dioxide by using a scanning probe microscope that they developed on their own. As a result, the team discovered that electrons are generated on the surface when titanium dioxide absorbs visible ray and near infrared ray, and these electrons react to water vapors in the air, thus generating unique "absorbent layer." This absorbent layer attracts water vapors again through strong gravitation, generating ultra-hydrophilic property.
Je said, Ultra-hydrophilic material can be used not only in glass that does not spawn water vapors but also in glass for photovoltaic panels, which does not require cleaning and thus is highly efficient.
The study was published in the April 7 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, a leading international journal of the U.S.