Water, and water quality, are issues of critical importance to the future of humankind. The Earth's water supplies have been contaminated by a wide variety of industrial, military and natural sources. The need exists for an efficient separation technology to remove heavy-metal and radionuclide contamination from water. Surfactant-templated synthesis of mesoporous ceramics provides a versatile foundation upon which to build high-efficiency environmental sorbents. These nanoporous ceramics condense a huge amount of surface area into a very small volume. These mesoporous architectures can be subsequently functionalized through molecular self-assembly. These functional mesoporous materials offer significant capabilities in terms of removal of heavy metals and radionuclides from a variety of liquid media, including groundwater, contaminated oils and contaminated chemical weapons. They are highly efficient sorbents, whose rigid, open pore structure allows for rapid, efficient sorption kinetics. Their interfacial chemistry can be fine-tuned to selectively sequester a specific target species, such as heavy metals, tetrahedral oxometallate anions and radionuclides. This manuscript provides a review of the design, synthesis and performance of the sorbent materials. The role that ligand posture plays in the chemistry of these interfacial ligand fields is discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Chemistry