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Researchers for the first time have found a quantum-confined bandgap narrowing mechanism where UV absorption of the grapheme quantum dots and TiO2 nanoparticles can easily be extended into the visible light range.

Such a mechanism may allow the design of a new class of composite materials for light harvesting and optoelectronics.

Dr Qin Li, Associate Professor in the Environmental Engineering & Queensland Micro- and Nanotechnology Centre, says real life application of this would be high efficiency paintable solar cells and water purification using sun light.

"Wherever there is abundant sun we can brush on this nanomaterial to harvest solar energy to create clean water," she says.

"This mechanism can be extremely significant for light harvesting. What's more important is we've come up with an easy way to achieve that, to make a UV absorbing material to become a visible light absorber by narrowing the bandgap."

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