Institute of Materials Science & Nanotechnology, Bilkent University, Ankara 06800, Turkey; Department of Energy and Material Engineering, Dongguk University, Seoul 04620, Republic of Korea. Electronic address: [Email]
Selectivity of catalysts toward harmful cationic pollutants in industrial wastewater remains challenging but is of crucial importance in environmental remediation processes. Here, we present a complex network of a hydrolyzed polymer of intrinsic microporosity (HPIM)-based electrospun nanofibrous web with surface functional decoration of ZnO nanorods (NRs) as a hierarchical platform for selective and rapid degradation of cationic dyes. Over a single species or binary mixtures, cationic dyes were selectively adsorbed by the HPIM surface, which then rapidly degraded under simultaneous photoirradiation through the ZnO NRs. Both HPIM and ZnO exhibited high electronegative surfaces, which induced the selectivity towards the cationic dyes and rapidly degraded the pollutants with the production of reactive oxygen species under photoirradiation. Further, as a free-standing web, the catalytic network could be easily separated and reused without any significant loss of catalytic activity after multiple cycles of use. The hierarchical platform of ZnO/HPIM-based heterostructures could be a promising catalytic template for selective degradation of synthetic dyes in mixed wastewater samples.