In situ generation of highly localized chlorine by laser-induced graphene electrodes during electrochemical disinfection

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Original languageEnglish
Article number139123
Journal / PublicationChemosphere
Online published5 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023



Laser-induced graphene (LIG) has gained popularity for electrochemical water disinfection due to its efficient antimicrobial activity when activated with low voltages. However, the antimicrobial mechanism of LIG electrodes is not yet fully understood. This study demonstrated an array of mechanisms working synergistically to inactivate bacteria during electrochemical treatment using LIG electrodes, including the generation of oxidants, changes in pH—specifically high alkalinity associated with the cathode, and electro-adsorption on the electrodes. All these mechanisms may contribute to the disinfection process when bacteria are close to the surface of the electrodes where inactivation was independent of the reactive chlorine species (RCS); however, RCS was likely responsible for the predominant cause of antibacterial effects in the bulk solution (i.e., ≥100 mL in our study). Furthermore, the concentration and diffusion kinetics of RCS in solution was voltage-dependent. At 6 V, RCS achieved a high concentration in water, while at 3 V, RCS was highly localized on the LIG surface but not measurable in water. Despite this, the LIG electrodes activated by 3 V achieved a 5.5-log reduction in Escherichia coli (E.coli) after 120-min electrolysis without detectable chlorine, chlorate, or perchlorate in the water, suggesting a promising system for efficient, energy-saving, and safe electro-disinfection. © 2023 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Research Area(s)

  • Antibacterial mechanism, Electrochemical disinfection, Laser-induced graphene, Water treatment

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