SESBE funded researcher Bozhidar Stefanov awarded with Innovation stipend 2016The innovation stipend award is governed by the Innovation foundation of Handelsbanken Uppsala City, and is given once a year by the Ångström Materials Akademy (UU Innovation). Its recipients are usually doctoral students and research students in the field of natural sciences, whose work has been considered an innovation with a potential for industrial development, or is the result of collaboration with an industrial partner. Four stipends were given out this year, with a total value of 50 kSEK and one of the awardees is Bozhidar Stefanov, whose work was partially funded by the SESBE project.
Bozhidar, who has recently graduated his doctoral degree at the Solid State Physics division of Uppsala University, was awarded for his studies on photocatalytic coatings of functionalized titania (TiO2), which can be employed for indoor air cleaning using natural sunlight. While titania coated architectural glass and cement tiles are already commercially available, the coatings they have are usually optimized for a self-cleaning and anti-fogging effect and exhibit moderate activity against airborne pollutants. During his studies Bozhidar investigated several novel approaches on improving the photocatalytic activity of such coatings against indoor air pollution. These include, e.g. fine – tuning the crystallographic structure of the coating in order to enhance its activity by exposing more reactive facets, functionalizing the surface with acidic chemical groups, which prevent the long-term catalyst deactivation, and finding the optimal operating conditions (relative humidity and surface temperature) for higher photocatalytic performance in the indoor environment.