Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Nanostructures to facilitate the process to eliminate organic contaminants in water


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.

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

Oihane Lakar | Eurek Alert!
Further information:

Further reports about: Nanostructures Physics TiO2 destruction nanoparticles reaction temperature titanium transition

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Graphene microphone outperforms traditional nickel and offers ultrasonic reach
27.11.2015 | Institute of Physics

nachricht Tracking down the 'missing' carbon from the Martian atmosphere
25.11.2015 | California Institute of Technology

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Climate study finds evidence of global shift in the 1980s

Planet Earth experienced a global climate shift in the late 1980s on an unprecedented scale, fuelled by anthropogenic warming and a volcanic eruption, according to new research published this week.

Scientists say that a major step change, or ‘regime shift’, in the Earth’s biophysical systems, from the upper atmosphere to the depths of the ocean and from...

Im Focus: Innovative Photovoltaics – from the Lab to the Façade

Fraunhofer ISE Demonstrates New Cell and Module Technologies on its Outer Building Façade

The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE has installed 70 photovoltaic modules on the outer façade of one of its lab buildings. The modules were...

Im Focus: Lactate for Brain Energy

Nerve cells cover their high energy demand with glucose and lactate. Scientists of the University of Zurich now provide new support for this. They show for the first time in the intact mouse brain evidence for an exchange of lactate between different brain cells. With this study they were able to confirm a 20-year old hypothesis.

In comparison to other organs, the human brain has the highest energy requirements. The supply of energy for nerve cells and the particular role of lactic acid...

Im Focus: Laser process simulation available as app for first time

In laser material processing, the simulation of processes has made great strides over the past few years. Today, the software can predict relatively well what will happen on the workpiece. Unfortunately, it is also highly complex and requires a lot of computing time. Thanks to clever simplification, experts from Fraunhofer ILT are now able to offer the first-ever simulation software that calculates processes in real time and also runs on tablet computers and smartphones. The fast software enables users to do without expensive experiments and to find optimum process parameters even more effectively.

Before now, the reliable simulation of laser processes was a job for experts. Armed with sophisticated software packages and after many hours on computer...

Im Focus: Quantum Simulation: A Better Understanding of Magnetism

Heidelberg physicists use ultracold atoms to imitate the behaviour of electrons in a solid

Researchers at Heidelberg University have devised a new way to study the phenomenon of magnetism. Using ultracold atoms at near absolute zero, they prepared a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

Fraunhofer’s Urban Futures Conference: 2 days in the city of the future

25.11.2015 | Event News

Gluten oder nicht Gluten? Überempfindlichkeit auf Weizen kann unterschiedliche Ursachen haben

17.11.2015 | Event News

Art Collection Deutsche Börse zeigt Ausstellung „Traces of Disorder“

21.10.2015 | Event News

Latest News

Siemens to supply 126 megawatts to onshore wind power plants in Scotland

27.11.2015 | Press release

Two decades of training students and experts in tracking infectious disease

27.11.2015 | Life Sciences

Coming to a monitor near you: A defect-free, molecule-thick film

27.11.2015 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>