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Selective detection and removal of heavy metal ions using porous materials

Guest: Dr. Yuan Gao (School of Chemistry Engineering and Technology, China University of Mining and Technology)

Hosted by Dr. Stefania Grecea and Dr. Hong Zhang (University of Amsterdam)

dr. Yuan Gao
dr. Yuan Gao

Water contamination with heavy metal ions is a severe environmental problem because of the toxic nature of the heavy metal ions, even at low trace levels. Heavy metals are not biodegradable and tend to accumulate in living organisms. Moreover, many heavy metal ions are known to be carcinogenic. The major sources of contamination are mining and smelting operations, industrial production and use, and domestic and agricultural use of metals and metal-containing compounds. Minimizing the impact of heavy metal ions in water pollution requires the development of suitable techniques for their detection and quantification. In this project, we will study porous materials which serve as a host for metal ion loading with selections of metal ion amounts/types. Incorporating specific emissive centres in the porous host enables the selective detection of heavy metal ions using absorption and fluorescence spectroscopy techniques. We will evaluate the selectivity to the heavy metal ions by performing single-component/multicomponent batch experiments and measuring adsorption kinetics. Combining such studies with materials characterization experiments will give us information about the host-guest interactions, and further insights into the overall adsorption process at the molecular level.