Colloidal nanomaterials for water quality improvement and monitoring


Water is the most important resource for all kind forms of live. It is a vital resource distributed unequally across different regions of the globe, with populations already living with water scarcity, a situation that is spreading due to the impact of climate change. The reversal of this tendency and the mitigation of its disastrous consequences is a global challenge posed to Humanity, with the scientific community assuming a major obligation for providing solutions based on scientific knowledge. This article reviews literature concerning the development of nanomaterials for water purification technologies, including collaborative scientific research carried out in our laboratory (nanoLAB@UA) framed by the general activities carried out at the CICECO-Aveiro Institute of Materials. Our research carried out in this specific context has been mainly focused on the synthesis and surface chemical modification of nanomaterials, typically of a colloidal nature, as well as on the evaluation of the relevant properties that arise from the envisaged applications of the materials. As such, the research reviewed here has been guided along three thematic lines: 1) magnetic nanosorbents for water treatment technologies, namely by using biocomposites and graphite-like nanoplatelets; 2) nanocomposites for photocatalysis (e.g., TiO2/Fe3O4 and POM supported graphene oxide photocatalysts; photoactive membranes) and 3) nanostructured substrates for contaminant detection using surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS), namely polymers loaded with Ag/Au colloids and magneto-plasmonic nanostructures. This research is motivated by the firm believe that these nanomaterials have potential for contributing to the solution of environmental problems and, conversely, will not be part of the problem. Therefore, assessment of the impact of nanoengineered materials on eco-systems is important and research in this area has also been developed by collaborative projects involving experts in nanotoxicity. The above topics are reviewed here by presenting a brief conceptual framework together with illustrative case studies, in some cases with original research results, mainly focusing on the chemistry of the nanomaterials investigated for target applications. Finally, near-future developments in this research area are put in perspective, forecasting realistic solutions for the application of colloidal nanoparticles in water cleaning technologies.






Estrada, AC; Daniel-da-Silva, AL; Leal, C; Monteiro, C; Lopes, CB; Nogueira, HIS; Lopes, I; Martins, MJ; Martins, NCT; Goncalves, NPF; Fateixa, S; Trindade, T

nossos autores


This work was financed by Portugal 2020 through European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) in the frame of CENTRO2020 in the scope of the project BIOMAG, CENTRO -01-0247-FEDER-181268 and in the scope of the project CICECO-Aveiro Institute of Materials, UIDB/50011/2020 & UIDP/50011/2020 & LA/P/0006/2020, and CESAM- UIDB/50017/2020 + UIDP/50017/2020 + LA/P/0094/2020, financed by national funds through the FCT/MEC (PIDDAC). The work was also partially funded by Portugal 2020 through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) in the frame of Operational Competitiveness and Internationalization Program (POCI) in the scope of the project PROTEUS - POCI-01-0247-FEDER- 017729. CM and MJM thank the Fundacao para a Ciencia e Tecnologia (FCT) for the PhD grants PD/BD/150568/2020 and SFRH/BD/131433/2017, respectively. NPFG acknowledge the funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 101065059. ACE, NCTM and SF acknowledge the costs of their research contracts (REF. -078 - 88 -ARH/2018; REF.-069-88-ARH/2018) resulting from the FCT hiring funded by national funds (OE), through FCT, I.P., in the scope of the framework contract foreseen in 4, 5, and 6 of article 23 of the Decree-Law 57/2016, of 29 August, changed by the law 57/2017, of 19 July. CBL acknowledges the funding by FCT through CEECIND/03739/2021.

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