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Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering

Front. Environ. Sci. Eng.    2020, Vol. 14 Issue (5) : 77
(Super)paramagnetic nanoparticles as platform materials for environmental applications: From synthesis to demonstration
Wenlu Li, John D. Fortner()
Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520, USA
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• The fabrication of monodisperse, (super)paramagnetic nanoparticles is summarized.

• Monolayer and bilayer surface coating structures are described.

• Mono/bilayer coated nanoparticles showed high sorption capacities for U, As, and Cr.

Over the past few decades, engineered, (super)paramagnetic nanoparticles have drawn extensive research attention for a broad range of applications based on their tunable size and shape, surface chemistries, and magnetic properties. This review summaries our recent work on the synthesis, surface modification, and environmental application of (super)paramagnetic nanoparticles. By utilizing high-temperature thermo-decomposition methods, first, we have broadly demonstrated the synthesis of highly monodispersed, (super)paramagnetic nanoparticles, via the pyrolysis of metal carboxylate salts in an organic phase. Highly uniform magnetic nanoparticles with various size, composition, and shape can be precisely tuned by controlled reaction parameters, such as the initial precursors, heating rate, final reaction temperature, reaction time, and the additives. These materials can be further rendered water stable via functionalization with surface mono/bi-layer coating structure using a series of tunable ionic/non-ionic surfactants. Finally, we have demonstrated platform potential of these materials for heavy metal ions sensing, sorption, and separation from the aqueous phase.

Keywords Superparamagnetic nanoparticles      Surface functionalization      Environmental sensing      Heavy metal ion sorption     
This article is part of themed collection: Accounts of Aquatic Chemistry and Technology Research (Responsible Editors: Jinyong Liu, Haoran Wei & Yin Wang)
Corresponding Author(s): John D. Fortner   
Issue Date: 14 May 2020
 Cite this article:   
Wenlu Li,John D. Fortner. (Super)paramagnetic nanoparticles as platform materials for environmental applications: From synthesis to demonstration[J]. Front. Environ. Sci. Eng., 2020, 14(5): 77.
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Wenlu Li
John D. Fortner
Fig.1  Magnetic nanoparticles: (a–d) TEM micrographs of iron oxide nanoparticles with different sizes, (e–h) TEM micrographs of iron oxide nanoparticles with different shapes, and (i–l) TEM micrograph of core-shell structured iron oxide-manganese oxide with Gatan Image Filter (GIF) analysis shows mapping position of Mn/Fe. Reproduced with permission from refs. (Li et al., 2016c; Kim et al., 2018b).
Fig.2  Schematic of nanoparticle coating strategies: monolayer and bilayer chemistries/structures. The inner, first layer of the bilayer structure is oleic acid monolayer
Fig.3  Monodispersed iron oxide nanoparticles for uranium sorption, separation, and low-level sensing using a hand-held Geiger counter. Reproduced with permission from ref. (Li et al., 2016d)
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