Environmental pollution is currently a global challenge facing mankind. In the past two decades, the development of nanotechnology has represented a continuous improvement process in the design, discovery, creation, and new utilization of man-made nanomaterials. In order to meet the main challenges of environmental sustainability, these nanomaterials with various hierarchical structures are stimulating various important practical applications in the environmental field.
Carbon nanomaterials and their functional derivatives are used to optimize the fate and transport of drugs through dense tissues, especially targeting cancer cells, and use functionalized nanotubes as synthetic transmembrane pores. Similar environmental applications include targeted delivery of repair agents, engineering to remove harmful pollutants, and new membrane structures for water filtration.
Figure.1 Nanomaterials for energy storage applications. (Sajjad S, et al. 2017)
Alfa Chemistry is an expert in the field of nanomaterials. We conduct extensive research on the design, synthesis, and modification of carbon nanomaterials to improve the performance of environmental-related applications. Our products involve the leading applications of carbon-based nanotechnology in the fields of adsorption, high-throughput membrane separation, pathogen control, and environmental sensing.
The adsorption capacity of traditional carbonaceous adsorbents is limited in many ways, such as their large size, surface active site density, and the activation energy of adsorption bonds. Carbon nano-adsorbent has a high surface area to volume ratio, controllable pore size distribution, and operable surface chemistry, which overcomes many of these inherent limitations.
The direct adsorption of organic pollutants to the surface of nanomaterials is driven by the same basic hydrophobicity, dispersibility, and weak dipole force. In addition to being used as direct adsorbents, carbonaceous nanomaterials are also used as high surface area scaffolds for oxides or macromolecules with inherent adsorption capacity to adsorb or complexions, metals, and radionuclides in solution.
The environmental application of nanomaterial adsorption capacity is not limited to removing or repairing common pollutants.
Traditional reverse osmosis (RO) seawater desalination membranes separate components based on their rate of diffusion through the dense polymer membrane barrier. In current membrane designs, this separation mechanism forces a basic trade-off between high selectivity and water flux. A new type of membrane using the unique properties of carbon nanotubes can significantly reduce the energy and cost of seawater desalination.
Figure.2 Evolution of aligned nanotube membranes for chemical separation and water treatment applications. Future research is focused around the development of a high-flux, antifouling SWNT membrane for desalination applications. (Mauter M. S, et al. 2008)
The combination of different features such as easy surface modification, strong mechanical strength, excellent water dispersibility, and photoluminescence makes GO an interesting promotional antibacterial element that is used in various biomedical and environmental applications, such as medical treatment and water disinfection.
A new type of antibacterial surface coating that utilizes the inherent vulnerability of bacteria to carbon nanotubes can provide elegant engineering solutions to the challenging problems of bacterial colonization and biofilm development in drinking water systems, medical implants, and other underwater surfaces. The pathogen inactivation of fullerol and nC-60 can also be applied to water and wastewater treatment.
CNT-based sensors provide many advantages for existing sensor platforms. Chemical, biological, thermal, optical, stress, strain, pressure, and flow sensors utilize CNT's excellent electrical conductivity, chemical stability, high surface area, mechanical stiffness, and direct functionalization pathways to enhance traditional carbon electrode sensor platforms.
Monitoring the environmental microbial ecology and detecting microbial pathogens are also the goals of the biosensor platform research. Some systems use nucleic acid or protein targets to directly adsorb and accumulate on the surface of the CNT electrode array for label-free hybrid electrical detection. Others use the unique conductive properties of CNTs to amplify the signal pathways in recognition and transduction events.