In her PhD thesis, Silvia Larumbe-Abuin has developed nanostructures that assist in the process to decontaminate water.
The nanostructures (particles of a microscopic size of between 1 and 100 nanometres) 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.
Dissolution process of organic particles through nanoparticles
Nafarroako Unibertsitate Publikoa.
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 titanium oxide and different oxidizing radicals are formed; the latter destroy the organic contaminants 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 ultraviolet radiation, 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 nanostructures are formed using a magnetic nucleus, they can be retrieved by applying an external magnetic field.
Silvia Larumbe graduated in Chemistry at the University of Navarre, did a Master’s in Chemical Science and Technology at the UNED (Open University) and obtained her PhD in the Department of Physics of the NUP/UPNA. She has participated in over twenty or so national and international conferences, is the co-author of twelve research papers, and has participated in various research projects.
Oihane Lakar | Eurek Alert!
Scientists take nanoparticle snapshots
11.02.2016 | DOE/Argonne National Laboratory
New paths for generation of ultracold molecules
11.02.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Quantenoptik
Today, plants and microorganisms are heavily used for the production of medicinal products. The production of biopharmaceuticals in plants, also referred to as “Molecular Pharming”, represents a continuously growing field of plant biotechnology. Preferred host organisms include yeast and crop plants, such as maize and potato – plants with high demands. With the help of a special algal strain, the research team of Prof. Ralph Bock at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology in Potsdam strives to develop a more efficient and resource-saving system for the production of medicines and vaccines. They tested its practicality by synthesizing a component of a potential AIDS vaccine.
The use of plants and microorganisms to produce pharmaceuticals is nothing new. In 1982, bacteria were genetically modified to produce human insulin, a drug...
Atomic clock experts from the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) are the first research group in the world to have built an optical single-ion clock which attains an accuracy which had only been predicted theoretically so far. Their optical ytterbium clock achieved a relative systematic measurement uncertainty of 3 E-18. The results have been published in the current issue of the scientific journal "Physical Review Letters".
Atomic clock experts from the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) are the first research group in the world to have built an optical single-ion clock...
The University of Würzburg has two new space projects in the pipeline which are concerned with the observation of planets and autonomous fault correction aboard satellites. The German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy funds the projects with around 1.6 million euros.
Detecting tornadoes that sweep across Mars. Discovering meteors that fall to Earth. Investigating strange lightning that flashes from Earth's atmosphere into...
Physicists from Saarland University and the ESPCI in Paris have shown how liquids on solid surfaces can be made to slide over the surface a bit like a bobsleigh on ice. The key is to apply a coating at the boundary between the liquid and the surface that induces the liquid to slip. This results in an increase in the average flow velocity of the liquid and its throughput. This was demonstrated by studying the behaviour of droplets on surfaces with different coatings as they evolved into the equilibrium state. The results could prove useful in optimizing industrial processes, such as the extrusion of plastics.
The study has been published in the respected academic journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America).
Exceeding critical temperature limits in the Southern Ocean may cause the collapse of ice sheets and a sharp rise in sea levels
A future warming of the Southern Ocean caused by rising greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere may severely disrupt the stability of the West...
09.02.2016 | Event News
02.02.2016 | Event News
26.01.2016 | Event News
11.02.2016 | Life Sciences
11.02.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
11.02.2016 | Earth Sciences