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Toxic Metal Sequestration Exploiting a Unprecedented Low-Molecular-Weight Hydrogel-to-Metallogel Transformation

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posted on 04.06.2018 by Avik De, Raju Mondal
We report herein the development of a unique low-molecular-weight gelator-induced technique for environmental remediation. The motive of this work is wastewater purification using a gel-based toxic heavy metal sequestration. The essence of this technique was to bring two different functionalities, one capable of multiple coordination and another with gel-forming ability, arranged in tandem within a single ligand molecule. Naturally, the success of the approach depends on whether the two tandem-arrayed functionalities are indeed working in tandem. Our results show that the ligand molecule is an excellent example of concomitant hydrogelator and metallogelator. The most interesting aspects of this study involve the toxic metal sequestration of Pb, Cd, and Hg which was further studied in detail with spectroscopic, microscopic, and diffraction techniques. We also report here a rare property of pure organic hydrogel-to-metallogel transformation which could open up a new avenue on wastewater purification. In essence, the hydrogels can be envisaged as a unique class of metal-free zeolite analogue for environmental remediation not by just absorbance but through absorbance cum coordination, which are further corroborated by the inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectroscopy results.

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