Nanostructures to facilitate the process to eliminate organic contaminants in water

May 12, 2014
Nanostructures to facilitate the process to eliminate organic contaminants in water
Dissolution process of organic particles through nanoparticles

A researcher at the Public University of Navarre (UPNA) has developed nanostructures that assist in water decontamination. The nanostructures are coated in titanium oxide to which nitrogen has been added. This allows sunlight, rather than ultraviolet radiation, to trigger the process involving the chemical reaction and destruction of contaminants.

In her PhD thesis, Silvia Larumbe-Abuin describes these nanostructures. What is more, thanks to the magnetic nucleus of the particles, once the process has been carried out, they can be retrieved and reused. Silvia Larumbe's thesis is entitled, "Síntesis, caracterización y aplicaciones de nanoestructuras basadas en óxidos de metales de transición" [Synthesis, characterisation and applications of nanostructures based on transition metal oxides].

The basis of the research conducted is the phenomenon known as photocatalysis: When light affects a substance that acts as a catalyst, the speed of the chemical reaction is increased. In this case, the light activates the and different oxidizing radicals are formed; the latter destroy the in the water, which could be colouring agents, solvents, detergents, etc. As the author of the work explained, "it is a sustainable system that could be used as an alternative to different treatments used traditionally in waste water treatment and, specifically, to eliminate certain organic contaminants".

One of the advantages of this development is the possibility of using sunlight instead of ultraviolet light. "Since nitrogen is added to the coating of the particles, the mechanism that will trigger the process can be sunlight rather than , which means a more accessible, less expensive alternative that poses fewer risks."

The fact that structures of a nanometric size are used also improves photocatalytic capability since the surface of the photocatalyst is greater. Another advantage is the reuse of the catalysing component; since the are formed using a magnetic nucleus, they can be retrieved by applying an external magnetic field.

Explore further: Graphene and diamonds prove a slippery combination

More information: C. Gómez-Polo, S. Larumbe, J.M. Pastor. (2013). "Room temperature ferromagnetism in non magnetic doped TiO2 nanoparticles." Journal of Applied Physics 113 17B511

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Graphene and diamonds prove a slippery combination

14 hours ago

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory have found a way to use tiny diamonds and graphene to give friction the slip, creating a new material combination that demonstrates ...

Artificial muscles get graphene boost

May 22, 2015

Researchers in South Korea have developed an electrode consisting of a single-atom-thick layer of carbon to help make more durable artificial muscles.

How to make continuous rolls of graphene

May 21, 2015

Graphene is a material with a host of potential applications, including in flexible light sources, solar panels that could be integrated into windows, and membranes to desalinate and purify water. But all ...

Carbon nanothreads from compressed benzene

May 20, 2015

A new carbon nanomaterial – the thinnest possible one-dimensional thread that still retains a diamond-like structure – was created by the controlled, slow compression and decompression of benzene. The ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.