Mr. Elia Roma spent a prolonged Erasmus internship at BIMat as part of his PhD training to get trained in nanoparticle synthesis and characterization. As his project at BIMat he chose to develop a new polymer coating for magnetic nanoparticles that carried chemical groups which bind different types of heavy metals. Heavy metals often contaminate drinking water in the developing world and require removal. With increased water scarcity in more affluent countries, this problem is also growing in developed countries.
By encoding the particles to aggregate by an increase in temperature, Mr. Roma’s particles make it possible to capture heavy metal ions efficiently and extract them with a magnet. The capture of heavy metal ions efficiently takes place to fast-diffusing, non-toxic nanoparticles, while the collection of particles with toxic ions is made as micron-sized aggregates formed after an increase in temperature. These accomplishments awarded Mr. Roma the first poster prize at the International Soft Matter Conference 2019 in Edinburgh.
We are continuing our the collaboration and using state of the art methods developed at BIMat to study the heavy metal ion binding to the nanoparticles, while further optimizing the ability to capture heavy metal ions using organic polymers on the nanoparticles.