Water scarcity is one of the most serious global challenges of our time. One of the currently resolutions to this shortage is desalination. So far, most research on desalination has focused on preparing photothermal materials which possess the property of light-to-heat conversion. However, changing the intrinsic properties of water to improve the efficiency of solar evaporation has rarely been discussed. A new concept to increase the efficiency of desalination via destroying hydrogen bonds based on gold nanoparticles-adsorbed ceramic rods (AuNPs@CRs) is proposed here for the first time. Weakening the strength of interactions within water molecules by illumination with resonant light produces easily evaporable plasmon-activated water (PAW). This proposed system exhibits high efficiencies of steam generation in different experimental environments. Meanwhile, it was 140.0% and 107.5% more efficient than untreated water in an oven and an indoor environment, respectively. The source of resonant light from sunlight on a sunny or cloudy day can also achieve this performance. In addition, the results of water pump suction and direct contact membrane distillation (DCMD) further demonstrated that the illuminated AuNPs@CR system exhibits high potential for desalination.
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